Do Jack Hendry links suggest Rafa Benitez wants a centre-back at Newcastle United?

Rafael Benitez, Manager of Newcastle United gives his team instructions during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Newcastle United at Old Trafford on November 18, 2017...

Dundee centre-back Jack Hendry is on the radar of Newcastle United, Crystal Palace and Southampton.

Rafael Benitez, Manager of Newcastle United looks on during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Watford at St. James Park on November 25, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne,...

With the January transfer window three weeks away, it seems Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez has already decided upon his targets.

As reported by the International Business Times, Benitez wants around £20 million to spend in the mid-season market. And he wants to use that budget to bring in a goalkeeper, a left-back, a new number ten and a reliable centre-forward.

There is no mention, however, of a central defender. But The Mail are now reporting that Newcastle have suddenly joined the chase to sign the Dundee’s Jack Hendry, suggesting that centre-half may also be a position Benitez wants to strengthen in January - and this may not bode well for Florian Lejeune.

Jack Hendry of Dundee in action during the pre season friendly between Brechin City and Dundee at Glebe Park on July 11, 2017 in Brechin, Scotland.

According to The Mail, Newcastle are battling Premier League rivals Southampton and Crystal Palace for Hendry, who’s composed, ball-playing style has earned him comparisons with Manchester City’s £47.5 million star John Stones.

Scottish top flight side Dundee are a little strapped for cash and know they could raise funds to strengthen a struggling squad by selling their prized asset in the New Year. The report adds that the board will meet this week to discuss whether or not to invite offers.

Tavhon Campbell of Yeovil Town is tackled by Jack Hendry of MK Dons during the EFL Checkatrade Trophy Second Round match between Yeovil Town and MK Dons at Hush Park on December 6 2016 in...

And Newcastle might have to go all out for Hendry with Southampton and Palace both very interested in signing a player who appears to be a real future talent.

Newcastle's solid defensive displays at the start of the season looked likely to provide a platform for a comfortable first season back in the top flight. But The Magpies have now conceded 12 goals in their last four league games, that 3-0 home defeat to Watford particularly worrying.

And big summer signing Lejeune has come in for severe criticism, particularly in his error-strewn performances against United and Marco Silva's Hornets. The French defender has endured a frustrating debut season since arriving from Eibar, his impact restricted by a serious injury suffered on his debut back in August.

But with Newcastle hoping to bring Hendry to St James' Park, should Lejeune already be looking over his shoulder and worrying for his place?

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