News from France today that Newcastle United are interested in signing Jean-Kevin Duverne.

The transfer strategy appears to have changed out of all recognition under Rafa Benitez, moving away from the over the top focus on the French market. However, the Newcastle boss has stated that he doesn’t rule out bringing players from anywhere in the future, including up and coming players in France.

France Football report that Newcastle United attempted to try and land Jean-Kevin Duverne in the summer – but the player made it clear that he wanted to stay with Lens in the hope of regular football.

Having played two seasons in the reserves, Duverne has now stepped up and become first choice for the Lens first team in Ligue 2.

The centre-back only turned 19 in July but has already had some French pundits suggesting he has shown promising signs of being another Raphael Varane, the central defender who plays for both France and Real Madrid.

Signing his first professional contract this summer rather than move abroad at such a young age, France Football say that Newcastle continue to track the young defender, although the likes of Tottenham, Southampton, Sunderland and Liverpool are also understood to be monitoring Duverne’s progress.

Rafa Benitez has shown his determination to improve the competition and standard of every level of the club, so interesting to see what transfer business if any he does in January, as he looks to quickly make in-roads in correcting the shambolic running of the club in recent times under Mike Ashley.