Report: Joel Matip is Newcastle’s prime January target, not convinced by Robin Knoche

Newcastle have been linked with two defenders ahead of the January transfer window.

According to the Northern Echo, Newcastle have decided upon their prime January transfer target, with the window now three months away from opening.

Steve McClaren is keen to strengthen the defensive areas in his team, and is looking to towards foreign markets for players who are relatively cheap, but still fulfil the Magpies’ policy of buying young talents who can develop at St James’ Park before being sold on for profit.

And with these guidelines set, McClaren has targeted Schalke centre-back Joel Matip as the main player he wants to bring to Tyneside in January.

Newcastle hoped to complete a deal for the 24-year-old Cameroon international over the summer window, according to the same report, and it is stated that they were close to tabling a £10 million offer for Matip prior to agreeing the deal to bring Chancel Mbemba to the club.

However, they retain their interest in Matip, and have been monitoring his situation at Schalke over the past couple of weeks. At the end of this campaign he enters the final year of his contract, and there have so far been no discussions to extend his deal.

The report claims that Newcastle are confident they could offer more than his current contract, whilst also being able to trump any potential offer Schalke could make.

With the interest in Matip, Newcastle have also decided to stall their interest in another centre-back, with Robin Knoche of Wolfsburg mooted as another potential target of late.

The report claims that the Magpies have been scouting him as a potential signing, but they view the 23-year-old as a more risky addition as he is at 'a less advanced stage of his development’ than Matip.

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