Newcastle United are reportedly interested in RC Lens defender, Kevin Danso, with sporting director Dan Ashworth seemingly keen to strengthen the club’s centre-back ranks.
What’s the word?
According to French outlet Jeunes Footeux, the Magpies are said to be ‘actively working’ to improve their squad ahead of next season, with the Austria international one of those who the northeast side are currently tracking.
The report suggests that a switch could potentially occur at the end of the season, albeit with any deal set to cost as much as €40m (£35m), with the 24-year-old’s existing deal with the Ligue 1 outfit set to expire in 2026.
Although that stint with the Saints proved somewhat underwhelming, as the 6 foot 3 brute only featured ten times across all fronts, the former Augsburg man has since gone on to sparkle after moving to France back in the summer of 2021.
The £8.5k-per-week sensation enjoyed a fine debut campaign last term after averaging 1.2 tackles and 1.2 interceptions per game from his 33 appearances, while also proving a real threat going forward after providing four goal contributions in that time.
The one-time MK Dons youth asset has continued that stellar form in the current campaign after playing a vital role in Lens’ remarkable title surge, having kept eight clean sheets in his 17 Ligue 1 starts, while winning 77% of his aerial duels and recording 1.1 tackles and 1.2 interceptions.
The “powerful” titan – as described by Saints journalist Adam Leitch – was notably part of the side that triumphed over Paris Saint-Germain on New Year’s Day, having made a whopping five interceptions and six clearances against the European giants, while also enjoying a 93% pass accuracy rate as a marker of his stunning composure on the ball.
As such, were Ashworth able to bring Danso to Tyneside, the Austrian ace could well prove an ideal upgrade on club captain, Jamaal Lascelles, with the Englishman reportedly one of a handful of Magpies assets who could be allowed to depart this month.
That exit talk has come following the 29-year-old’s slide down the pecking order under manager Eddie Howe, with the long-serving figure having only made seven appearances so far this term, including just four league outings.
The forgotten man has underwhelmed when he has featured in the top flight as he averages just 0.3 tackles and zero interceptions per game this term, having kept only two clean sheets in 26 league games last season after averaging 0.8 tackles and 0.6 interceptions – a record far inferior to that of Danso.
Equally, while the latter man was helping to keep Kylian Mbappe and co at bay a week ago, Lascelles’ latest outing saw the £40k-per-week dud struggle to contend with a Josh Windass-inspired Sheffield Wednesday side, as the League One outfit claimed a shock FA Cup triumph.
That display – which saw the defender endure some ‘tough moments‘ according to the Chronicle’s Lee Ryder – has laid bare the need for a fresh face in the backline, with Danso seemingly the upgrade that Newcastle are craving in order to wave farewell to their current skipper.