Newcastle United are considering a January swoop for Bournemouth skipper Steve Cook if they are priced out of moves for Burnley duo James Tarkowski and Ben Mee.

According to The Sun, Eddie Howe could turn to Bournemouth defender Steve Cook if Newcastle are unable to secure the services of James Tarkowski and Ben Mee. Cook will see his deal expire next summer, and the fact that the 30-year-old is represented by the same management agency as current Newcastle players Dwight Gayle, Jamaal Lascelles, Isaac Hayden, and Callum Wilson has further fueled the speculation.

Cook joined Bournemouth back in 2012 for a meagre £150,000 fee after a successful loan spell. Since then, he has proven to be a great servant for the Cherries over the years, making over 380 appearances for the club. Cook was an integral part of Howe’s Bournemouth side that propelled from League One to Premier League in the span of five seasons, ultimately clinching promotion in the 2014-15 season.

However, they were relegated after spending five years in the top flight, with Howe in charge. The Cherries risk losing Cook on a Bosman deal if they can not tie down the veteran on new terms with his contract expiring at the end of the season. The 30-year-old missed the start of the season with a knee injury but has since returned for the Cherries and has featured in the last three games for the club.

Bournemouth boss Scott Parker have widely used the centre-back pairing of Gary Cahill and Lloyd Kelly, but given Cook’s valuable experience, it would be preferable to keep him around as they look to seal direct promotion to the Premier League. They do, however, have Chris Mepham as an alternative, and Parker may be willing to let the veteran centre-half if Newcastle can make an offer that meets their asking price.

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The Magpies have been revitalised under the new ownership and are now preparing an effective January recruitment drive to escape the relegation zone. Howe is said to be keen on strengthening the defensive and midfield areas of the pitch, with Burnley’s formidable duo of James Tarkowski and Ben Mee touted as priority targets while they have also enquired about an ambitious move for German international Matthias Ginter.

However, with Burnley themselves contained in the relegation zone, it is hard to see them selling their best defensive pairing to a relegation rival. Hence, it is thought that Howe could be planning to raid his former club to solve the issue. The Magpies have already been linked to Bournemouth’s defensive hotshot Lloyd Kelly, and it seems like Cook is also making his way up on Eddie Howe’s shortlist at Newcastle.

While there is no denying the 30-year-old is a reliable defender on his day and could end up being a decent enough signing, he is not a starter for Bournemouth in the second-tier and also lacks pace and ball-playing qualities. Moreover, with injuries starting to creep in, he is entering the twilight years of his career. With resources available in excess under the new ownership, it would be wiser for the Magpies to steer clear of making this transfer.

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