By Pete O'Rourke

13th Dec, 2019 | 7:00am

Exclusive: Newcastle plot raid to sign Everton player for £14m in January

Newcastle United are in the hunt to sign Everton defender Mason Holgate in January, Football Insider can reveal.

The north-east club are keen to strengthen their defence and have set their sights on the versatile 23-year-old, who can slot in at right-back or centre-back.

A Newcastle source has told Football Insider that Holgate is on the club’s list of January targets and they are keeping close tabs on his situation.

Everton value Holgate at £14million after he established himself as a first-team regular of late, with seven consecutive Premier League starts in the heart of the defence.

The club have not yet made up their minds on whether to sell Holgate or keep him at Goodison Park.

Much could depend upon the identity of the new manager as the Everton hierarchy continue to assess potential successors to Marco Silva, who was sacked last week.

Click below for exclusive transfer news

Holgate spent the second half of last season on loan at West Brom, making 23 appearances as the Baggies reached the Championship play-off semi-finals.

Silva put the plug on the young defender going out on loan again when his attempts to bring back Chelsea star Kurt Zouma for a second spell failed.

Holgate began the season on the bench as Silva chose Yerry Mina and Michael Keane as his first choice partnership in central defence.

But the younger man was given his opportunity when Keane’s form nosedived and he’s now started every league match since late October.

Holgate is contracted to Everton until the summer of 2022.

In other Newcastle United news, it can be REVEALED that Steve Bruce has given the green light to January exit of Rafa regular.