Newcastle: Imagine Botman and Kevin Danso

Much of Newcastle United‘s success so far this term has been built on their rock-solid defensive unit, with manager Eddie Howe having fashioned an almost impenetrable outfit in recent months.

Currently the best defence in the Premier League – having shipped just 11 goals in 18 top-flight games thus far – the Magpies have appeared much improved compared to recent seasons, having notably conceded 62 times in the league alone last term.

Despite that remarkable turnaround in fortunes, the Tynesiders may be looking to bolster their backline even further with the addition of another centre-back recruit, with recent reports in France claiming that RC Lens star, Kevin Danso, could be on the agenda.

The report claims that the 24-year-old is a player that Howe and co are ‘interested’ in at present, with a move potentially on the cards at the end of the season, should the Ligue 1 outfit receive an offer of around €40m (£35m).

Although Newcastle do already have a reliable centre-back pairing in Sven Botman and Fabian Schar, the fact that the latter man has just 18 months remaining on his current deal could ensure that he is not a long-term option for the top-four hopefuls.

As such, the St James’ Park outfit could potentially form a monstrous defensive duo involving summer signing Botman and reported target, Danso, with that youthful, left foot, right foot combination likely to blossom in the years to come.

In the case of the Austrian international, the 6 foot 3 rock has been particularly impressive in the current campaign in France, having averaged 1.1 tackles and 1.2 interceptions per game from his 17 league starts, while also winning 77% of his aerial duels as a marker of his physical prowess.

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The one-time Southampton loanee has also recorded eight clean sheets in that time, while also helping to blunt Kylian Mbappe and co in the recent 3-1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain.

That shock triumph saw Danso win four of his five total duels on the night and record six clearances in what was a truly commanding performance, showcasing his ability to flourish against such elite opposition.

Bringing that “powerful” asset to England – as described by Saints journalist Adam Leitch – could well help Howe to find a perfect partner to Botman, with the Dutchman also offering a towering presence at the heart of the defence as a result of his 6 foot 4 frame.

The former Lille titan has made a “huge difference” to the Magpies since his £35m switch, as per journalist Josh Bunting, having been truly “colossal” at times in the early months of the campaign, according to Bunting.

The 22-year-old has kept seven clean sheets from his 16 league appearances so far this term, while also winning 66% of his aerial duels and 70% of his ground duels to illustrate just how effective he has been.

The pair can also provide a real threat at the other end of the pitch with Botman ranking in the top 7% in Europe among those in his position for touches in the attacking penalty area, while Danso ranks in the top 3% for assists made.

Having such an all-round partnership would no doubt be a real bonus for Howe, hence the need to get the Lens machine through the door.