Newcastle make key transfer move ahead of January window - report

By Harry Sykes

Newcastle have beefed up their recruitment team ahead of the January transfer window by appointing a new European scout, according to a report.

The Chronicle claim that the Championship club have strengthened their bid to sign players by adding Paul Baker to their team of talent spotters.

It is said that the former Hartlepool and Southampton striker will represent Newcastle at matches across the Continent with a brief to keep a close eye on players aged between 17 and 21.

Baker, who scored 171 goals during his own career, will report to the Magpies head of recruitment Steve Nickson as the club aim to steal a march in the highly competitive European youth market.

Nickson has a fine track record at Newcastle, where he has been key to  signings such as Ayoze Perez, Kevin Mbabu and Rolando Aarons, who have all graduated to the first team after being brought to the club in their teens or early 20s.

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The transfer window opens on 1 January for a month as Newcastle aim to re-jig a squad that has hit the ground running as they attempt to return to the Premier League at the first attempt.

Rafael Benitez’s side lost 2-1 to Nottingham Forest on Friday night after being reduced to nine men but remain at the Championship summit with a tally of 40 points from 19 matches.

They are a point clear of second-placed Brighton, who drew 0-0 against Cardiff on Saturday.

In other Newcastle transfer news, the Magpies were the only transfer competition for a brilliant summer signing by Liverpool.