Newcastle United join Liverpool and AC Milan in 'race' for highly rated £60m defender

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Newcastle United could look to bolster their defensive options in January.

Newcastle United’s recent Champions League exit has amplified the need for further squad depth and improvement - particularly in the centre back area where the Magpies have struggled with the loss of Sven Botman due to injury.

The former Lille man was imperative to Newcastle’s Champions League qualification last term as the club also reached their first cup final in 24 years.

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Botman’s performances helped Newcastle record their best defensive statistics - conceding just 33 goals from 38 matches in a feat only matched by treble winners Manchester City.

Club captain Jamaal Lascelles has stepped up in Botman’s absence and proven his worth alongside Fabian Schar. But the strenuous demand of Newcastle’s fixture list and the lack of squad depth behind the pair has become a cause for concern, particularly in the last Premier League match against Tottenham as both played the full 90 minutes despite receiving on the field treatment for knocks.

With all that in mind, it appears increasingly likely that Eddie Howe will make a defender his primary target in the winter window. One player who appears to have caught the eyes of the Newcastle scouting team is 21-year-old defender Piero Hincapie.

German outlet Bild explains that Newcastle have joined the race to sign the Bayer Leverkusen centre back alongside the likes of Liverpool, AS Roma and AC Milan.

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Hincapie is a talented central defender who has already represented Ecuador on 30 occasions, including three times at last winter’s World Cup in Qatar. His primary position is centre back, although, like Dan Burn he can offer support at left back when called upon.

The 21-year-old began his career in Ecuador with Independiente del Valle. A move to Argentina followed with Talleres but it was his move to Bayer Leverkusen in 2021 which saw him rise to prominence.

Hincapie has made 64 league appearances for Leverkusen since making the move to the BayArena and has helped the club to third and sixth place finishes.

He has been a key member of Xabi Alonso’s team since his arrival and is currently a part of a high-flying team which has won 11 and drawn three of their opening 14 games - giving them a four point gap on Bayern Munich in the club’s best ever league start.

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Hincapie is thriving at the heart of the Leverkusen defence which also finished top of the Europa League group and D Sport journalist Christian Martin has described the deal as ‘achievable’ for the Magpies in 2024.

Hincapie’s contract runs until June 2027, although it has also been revealed that the player has a release clause of around £60m. 

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