Newcastle United £10m 'done deal' and potential January departures assessed – transfer window Q&A
Our Newcastle United writer Dominic Scurr answers questions on the January transfer window and how things could unfold…
What are Newcastle’s transfer priorities this January?
Newcastle are keen to bolster the depth of their squad this month with several young full-backs being linked with a move, namely Real Valladolid’s Ivan Fresneda and West Ham United’s Harrison Ashby.
Neither would be expected to usurp Kieran Trippier anytime soon but would be viewed as players for the future. And The Magpies have made no secret of planning for the future this month with 18-year-old Garang Kuol already signed prior to the window opening.
The club's scouts have also been very active looking to unearth potential future stars with head of recruitment Steve Nickson spending time in South America this season. Closer to home, 16-year-old Dundee United forward Rory MacLeod is also being looked at among others.
Another injury to Jonjo Shelvey and a slight lack of depth in the midfield positions will see Newcastle prioritise a ‘number 6’ central midfielder this month. A winger was previously listed as a priority for Newcastle in the summer but the form of Miguel Almiron this season has forced a slight rethink.
In terms of outgoings, Newcastle will also listen to offers for squad players who are out of favour on Tyneside in order to help create space in Howe's squad.
What has Eddie Howe said about Newcastle’s transfer business?
The Newcastle head coach admitted he has ‘a lot to consider’ in the January transfer window having labelled it an unpredictable month. Howe is looking to bring in new additions and fix ‘potential weaknesses’ in his squad that have arisen as a result of injuries this season.
“I think we’ve got a really strong team,” Howe said. “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."
Are Newcastle close to making any signings?
Reports from Spain have suggested Newcastle’s pursuit of Ivan Fresneda from Real Valladolid is almost a ‘done deal’ though the majority of the noise regarding the transfer has come from the La Liga club’s end. Steve Nickson watched the player in action last week and United are understood to be considering making a bid of around £10million for the 18-year-old.
How this impacts The Magpies’ pursuit of Harrison Ashby from West Ham United remains to be seen. The 21-year-old is out of contract at The London Stadium in the summer and has been strongly tipped to join Newcastle.
At the time of writing, no other potential transfers have gone as far as the ‘making a bid’ stage.
What is Newcastle United's transfer budget this month?
As with previous transfer windows under the current ownership, there is no set budget for Newcastle as such. However, noises from inside the club have suggested that a more conservative approach will be taken compared to the previous two transfer windows with Financial Fair Play limitations to consider.
Although there was no set budget in the summer, it is understood that Newcastle spent more than anticipated in the summer and will be more frugal in January as a result. That's not to say if the right player comes along at the right price that the club wouldn't make a move – but they won’t be taking too many risks.
The club have also been paying attention to players whose contracts are running down and could therefore be available on a cut-price deal this month. Players such as Youri Tielemans and Marcus Thuram have been linked, though interest has seemingly cooled on the latter.
What are Newcastle's chances of signing James Maddison this month?
Newcastle’s interest in the Leicester City and England attacking-midfielder is well documented following two rejected bids in the summer. The Magpies retain a strong interest in the 26-year-old but it would require Leicester to make a complete U-turn on their transfer stance regarding the player, who is out of contract next summer.
Unless United come in with serious money, which is unlikely, this isn’t one that looks like happening this month at least – but there’s always hope for the summer.
Which players could depart Newcastle United this month?
Matt Ritchie has been linked with a move away but is well liked by Howe while Ryan Fraser has been tipped to leave this month after growing frustrated with his lack of minutes this season. The 28-year-old has not been included in United’s last two matchday squads despite having no reported fitness concerns.
Newcastle's goalkeeping situation is also unclear following Martin Dubravka’s early return from a loan spell at Manchester United. Loris Karius is out of contract this month and was previously expected to stay on at the club before Dubravka's request to return complicated things.
There are several moving parts as far as the goalkeepers are concerned with Dubravka’s future also uncertain but at least one goalkeeper will depart the club this month.
There will also be several loan opportunities for some of the club’s younger players.
Garang Kuol is set to leave on loan having recently arrived from Central Coast Mariners, clubs in Scotland and across the EFL are understood to have enquired about the 18-year-old. Hearts and Reading have both been named as potential suitors.
Young midfielder Joe White also looks set to join Exeter City on loan for the remainder of the season. Another loan for Elliot Anderson also hasn’t been ruled out.