Jose Mourinho has already told Newcastle United all they need to know about ‘target’ Dean Huijsen

Newcastle United would be signing a player tipped by Jose Mourinho to be a ‘great footballer in the future’ should they firm up their reported interest in Dean Huijsen.

The 19-year-old has been linked with a move to St James’ Park this summer as Eddie Howe and Co look to strengthen their options in the centre of defence. Newcastle will be without Dutch star Sven Botman until the end of 2024, while Jamaal Lascelles is also a long-term absentee, leaving just Fabian Schar and Dan Burn as first-choice centre-backs.

The position was already high up on the list of priorities for the summer, with Juventus defender Huijsen said to be a leading candidate. The Spain Under-17 international is currently on loan at Roma from Juventus and has signed a long-term deal with Juve.

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Dutch-born Huijsen is thought to be keen to show what he can do for Juventus once his loan spell ends, but a bid of around £25m could tempt the Old Lady of Italian football to consider a deal. Former Chelsea and Manchester United boss Mourinho handed Huijsen his debut while at Roma earlier this season, and has no doubt over his potential.

“We all know who he is. He is an 18-year-old boy who has played 10 minutes in Serie A, but he is one of the highest quality prospects in European football at this age level,” Mourinho said in January. “He will be a great footballer in the future.

“From a legal point of view, Huijsen is available to play tomorrow, but he is a boy who arrived at the hotel last night, who trained for an hour today. He had an introductory meeting to try and get into our philosophy, our dynamics.

“If you ask me, he is ready to play, if he plays, he plays. He has great confidence in himself. He has no Serie A experience, but he has confidence typical of a player with lots of potential. It will practically be a debut in Serie A, 10 minutes against Milan were nothing.”

Huijsen had made 14 appearances for Roma since his temporary switch, scoring against Cagliari and Frosinone.

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