NEWCASTLE UNITED have tabled an improved offer for Lille centre-half Sven Botman – with Eddie Howe determined to ensure that the capture of Kieran Trippier is merely the start of the club’s January transfer business.

Trippier’s arrival from Atletico Madrid was confirmed this morning, but Howe is keen to continue his defensive overhaul with the signing of a top-class centre-half.

The Magpies had an initial offer of around £30m for Botman rejected by Lille officials at the start of this month, with the Ligue 1 club adamant they do not want to lose the Dutch defender.

However, Newcastle officials have made renewed contact this morning and tabled what is understood to be a significantly improved offer.

While Lille have progressed to the knockout stages of the Champions League, their financial situation could make it difficult for them to reject the Magpies’ latest bid and, crucially, Botman has indicated a willingness to move to St James’ Park if a deal can be agreed.

Howe said: “I can’t give any promises. We are working, and we have been working for a considerable amount of time to improve the squad. That’s where the priorities stand, although there’s nothing imminent right at this moment coming through the door.

“But we’re working hard to improve the squad, and we will be for the duration of January. That’s how the window will be. The outlook is changing by the hour, and we’re working very hard to improve the squad.

“We’re looking in all positions because that’s our role, and that’s what we have to do for the benefit of the club. If there’s a player out there that can strengthen us and give us a better chance of staying in the division, we’ll look at him. There’s a lot of work going on. We’re trying to make the right decisions for the long term and short term.”

When asked to comment specifically on Newcastle’s interest in Botman, Howe added: “I’m not going to comment on individual players, due to respect for the player and the club that he plays for.”