Newcastle United double injury gives Eddie Howe ‘lots to consider' amid £32m midfielder interest
Midfielder Jonjo Shelvey has been ruled out until at least February with a calf injury while Matt Targett has suffered from a heel issue with no return date currently set. It leaves Newcastle slightly short of options in both midfield and left-back.
Dan Burn has been United’s starting left-back for the majority of the season ahead of Targett while Shelvey hasn’t started a Premier League match all season with the likes of Bruno Guimaraes, Sean Longstaff, Joe Willock and Joelinton all impressing in midfield.
And Howe admits there is ‘a lot to consider’ in terms of Newcastle’s approach to the January transfer window.
“If we didn’t sign anyone [in January], then we didn’t sign anyone,” Howe said when asked if he'd be happy to have the same squad at the end of the window.
"I love the group. I think we’ve got a really strong team. The thing we have to guard against at this time of the year is injuries, and every player you lose is a hammer blow and it does open up potential weaknesses in the squad.
"We’re very aware of that. We look at Jonjo’s injury and Matt Targett’s injury. I don’t know quite how long they’re going to be out, although I don’t think either of them are really long term, so we will get them back. But we obviously have to think of that. There’s a lot to consider.”
In the wake of Shelvey's injury, Newcastle have been linked once again with Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans. The Belgian is out of contract in the summer and could be available on a cut-price deal should The Foxes be unable to tie him down. Tielemans joined Leicester for a reported £32million from Monaco in 2019.
The Magpies’ interest in James Maddison will continue into January after Leicester rejected two bids for the player in the summer. But Newcastle are likely to be priced out of a January move for the England international, who has enjoyed an impressive first half of the season at the King Power.
Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Moses Caicedo and Nice’s Khephren Thuram are also understood to be potential targets for Newcastle as Howe looks to bolster his midfield options.
Newcastle spent over £200million on new signings in 2022 to help turn their fortunes around in the Premier League. But the harmony amongst the players appears stronger than ever as they head into 2023 on the back of a 12 match unbeaten run, the club’s longest such streak across a single Premier League season.
And Howe reaffirmed that a player’s personality and character will play a big part when deciding whether to sign any individual over the next month.
“The character of the player and person is hugely important,” added the Newcastle boss. “I think within any business organisation or group of people, the character of the people you’re bringing into that team is hugely important. We’ve had a really good togetherness and feel, and we don’t want to endanger that.”