How Newcastle United’s January transfer-linked players have performed this season
It is now just a month until the January transfer window opens, and already there is a familiar feeling on Tyneside: the anticipation of disappointment.
It was always going to be difficult to persuade decent players to sign for Newcastle United, given the decay over the past decade, but that task has been made harder by the team’s slide to the bottom of the Premier League.
Money certainly talks, so the hope is that some able players might arrive on loan with appropriate clauses in their contracts, but creative thinking is going to be needed to get deals over the line.
Leverage will be the key, and Newcastle still have some leverage in the form of a healthy bank balance courtesy of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
The problem is that currently no Premier League clubs are desperate for cash, which blunts Newcastle’s chequebook somewhat. On the other hand, some Premier League clubs may have an eye on expiring player contracts, while some European clubs certainly have a ledger imbalance since Covid.
The other leverage Newcastle have is being able to offer minutes on the pitch to that tier of players who are good enough to be at a decent team, but not good enough to get on the pitch.
No doubt Newcastle’s new owners, or rather their staff and advisers, have been looking at where they can assert this leverage, and it might be that poor form or a lack of appearances will be the key to recruitment.
This is how some of the rumoured targets have been doing:
Donny van de Beek
According to a report in the Telegraph at the weekend, Manchester United’s new interim manager Ralf Rangnick may still shift Donny van de Beek in January.
The Dutch central midfielder has had a disappointing time at Old Trafford, after signing for nearly £40m from Ajax a year ago.
He hasn’t started a single Premier League match this season, coming on as a substitute only a handful of times, though he has started in a couple of Champions League matches, and he came on as substitute in the last minutes of his club’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea yesterday.
Significantly, the 24-year-old has also been dropped from the Netherlands squad, which means he might want to improve his chances of a World Cup place by getting game time this season.
The same Telegraph report which said Van de Beek may leave in January explained that Lingard is expected to stay at Old Trafford until the end of the season.
However, that would seem like an odd bit of business for Man Utd, given that a club like Newcastle would now doubt pay a chunky fee.
Lingard had an awesome time on loan at West Ham United in the second half of last season, scoring nine goals in 16 games, so clearly still has the goods.
On top of that, England manager Gareth Southgate said Lingard has a better chance of getting in the national team if he plays regularly for his club.
So far this season he hasn’t been in the starting eleven once for Manchester United in the league or Champions League, though he came on as substitute yesterday. There is a loan deal to be done there.
The name that comes up again and again, but which has started to look increasingly tricky to get over the line as the weeks have ticked by.
The centre-back has been in the starting eleven every Premier League match for Burnley this season, so he does not need to move to get minutes.
However, his contract is due to run out in summer and there are rumours that he is declining to renew it, hence clubs are starting to circle.
The problem is, a gulf has now developed between Burnley and Newcastle, in terms of points and wins. Why join a club even more likely to be relegated? Just for the money?
Another complication is that West Ham are reportedly keen to sign him. That slightly blows Newcastle out of the water: rather than facing relegation, West Ham are a club facing Champions League qualification.
The France U21 international is a definite talent. He’s a defensive midfielder who has repeatedly been linked to Newcastle over the past few months.
He currently plays for Marseille, who are fourth in Ligue 1 and playing in the Europa League, which all makes him sound slightly beyond Newcastle’s grasp.
However, what swings him back into contention is that there is reportedly a bit of friction at his other club, which is the kind of player Newcastle used to specialise in signing.
He had been playing every league match for Marseille this season, but now he has found himself on the subs bench.
Maybe someone can do a Keegan and persuade him that Newcastle is the right move?
Newcastle United fans are anxiously hoping the club can steer themselves to safety and begin the process of becoming a major force in English football once more under new ownership.
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Similar to Tarkowski, the question for Wolves is: Why sell one of your best players to a Premier League rival?
And the question for Coady is: Why move to a worse club?
The centre-back has started every Premier League match for his club this season, and Wolves are flying high in sixth place. Newcastle are not.
Added to that, while playing for Wolves he has managed to make his way into the England squad and is likely to be heading to the World Cup next year.
So it would have to be some pretty incredible persuasion, or some astronomical wages, for him to decide to jeopardise his England prospects and move to a club that has no chance of qualifying for Europe but is likely to be playing in the Championship next season.