Newcastle are preparing a £7m bid to lure both Middlesbrough youngsters Joe Bennett and Matthew Bates to Tyneside.
The two Middlesbrough youngsters have been excellent for Boro this season and Newcastle’s joint-bid could be too good to turn down by their local rivals.
Toon manager Alan Pardew is likely to be active in the transfer window, with defensive reinforcements high on his list.
Despite their wonderful campaign, that has lifted him to the heights of 7th in the Premier League, both the centre-back and full-back area are of in need of strengthening.
Ryan Taylor has been out of form in recent weeks while the consistent Danny Simpson is out of contract at the end of the season and could be sold in January. The strength in depth isn’t there in the centre-half department either, with only Fabricio Coloccini (who is rumoured to be leaving as well), Mike Williamson and the injured Steven Taylor the only options available to Pardew.
Middlesbrough wonderful campaign in the Championship has seen them enter the promotion race – they are currently only two points off top-spot and have one of the best defensive unit’s in the country.
This solid base, that has only conceded 25 goals in 25 games, has a lot to do with form of both centre-half Bates and full-back Bennett, who have both come up through the ranks at Boro.
England youth defender Bates nearly joined Swansea in the summer but decided to continue to skipper his home-town club for their promotion push. His contract is up in the summer and Newcastle are ready to strike for a player that wants to test himself in the Premier League.
Bennett also is a very ambitious player and has been touted as an England left-back of the future once Ashley Cole retires.