Newcastle United are keen on Burnley’s Ben Mee in addition to his centre-back partner James Tarkowski, according to The Mirror‘s James Nursey.
Back in October, it was reported that Tarkowski was one of the first targets of the new regime (via The Telegraph), but it has now emerged that Mee, whose contract is also up at the end of the season, is attracting the Magpies’ interest as well.
The Northern Echo‘s Scott Wilson has previously written that Newcastle’s new owners would focus heavily on players in the final months of their deals.
It should be noted that, in the case of Mee, who is valued at £5.4m by Transfermarkt, there is the option for a further year. He has been described as a ‘true leader’ and an ‘underrated’ defender by TV pundit Micah Richards.
According to The Mirror, Eddie Howe is ‘desperate’ to bring in a new centre-back and likes both players. His former club Burnley are unlikely to let both of them leave, but importantly, Newcastle are in a position to double their wages.
Mee and Tarkowski are the top two earners at Turf Moor, taking home £55,000 and £50,000 per week respectively.
As noted by Nursey, there is an added advantage to targeting Burnley players – weakening a likely relegation rival.
Newcastle are shipping an average of two goals per game this season, and the hope would be that Mee and/or Tarkowski could give them a more secure platform for their survival bid. This was a duo which helped Burnley to keep 15 clean sheets in the 2019/20 season – a record bettered only by Manchester City.
Compared to positional peers in the top five leagues, Mee ranks in the 99th percentile for aerial duels won and the 97th for clearances. Based on those figures, he could help Newcastle immeasurably when their backs are against the wall.
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