Newcastle United have reportedly opened talks with AS Monaco over a potential move for highly-rated French defender Benoit Badiashile in the January transfer window.

According to Daily Mail, Newcastle United are allegedly holding talks with AS Monaco over a move for £35 million-rated centre-back Benoit Badiashile. The French under-21 international has emerged on the Magpies’ radar as Newcastle are struggling to work out a deal with Lille for Sven Botman despite lodging an improved bid recently.

Newcastle United are currently sitting 19th in the Premier League standings, with relegation a distinct possibility. Having shipped 42 Premier League goals, the joint-highest, and being knocked out of the FA Cup by League One opposition Cambridge United, Newcastle boss Eddie Howe is desperate to sign at least two central defenders this January.

Whilst talks for Botman and Diego Carlos are ongoing in the background, with both selling clubs playing hardball in terms of the transfer fee, Newcastle are also exploring other possible options. The Magpies have reportedly been monitoring the situation of AS Monaco youngster Benoit Badiashile, and it appears that they have stepped up their pursuit with an enquiry.

Badiashile joined Monaco’s famed academy in 2016 and is as one of the most talented prospects in France. Despite being just 20 years old, he has already racked up 105 appearances for Monaco while representing France at various youth levels.

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The Frenchman’s impressive displays have certainly caught the eye, with a host of Premier League clubs, including Manchester United, Wolves, and West Ham said to be keen on landing the young defender. However, it is Newcastle who have followed up on their initial interest and initiated discussions with AS Monaco about a potential winter move for the promising French defender.

Similar to other Newcastle targets such as Botman, Nico Schlotterbeck, and Lloyd Kelly, Badiashile is a left-footed ball-playing defender and comes as a direct replacement for the underperforming Ciaran Clark.

Badiashile ticks a lot of boxes in terms of age, profile and potential. Standing at 6ft 4in, he is strong, quick, aggressive, and would represent a significant upgrade over the current roster; if deals cannot be struck for Botman or Carlos, then Badiashile is a good alternative. However, he is not a nailed-on starter for Monaco and is far from a finished article. It seems to be a premature move and one that Newcastle can revisit in the summer if they stay up.

While he has shown huge promise in France and looks like a real talent, any move for the youngster would be a bit of a gamble, given he would be thrown into the deep end in a Premier League relegation battle at Newcastle. Having said that, if the Magpies can bring him in along with a more experienced defender, then it could pay off the dividends.

Badiashile is contracted to Monaco until 2024. However, as per the report, the French club is open to listening to bids for their prized assets and values him at around £35 million. It remains to be seen whether Newcastle will back up their interest in the highly-rated France under-21 international with a substantial bid.

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