Newcastle United transfer window Q&A: Our writers assess Steve Bruce's business so for and what deals the Magpies will look to do next
Just TWO days remain in the transfer window but Newcastle United remain very active in the market.
In a special transfer window Q&A, our NUFC writers Miles Starforth and Liam Kennedy discuss the summer so far, assessing United’s business and look ahead to what deals could be done in the next 48 hours.
Do you think Newcastle will do any significant business before Thursday's deadline?
Miles: “Yes, I’m expecting at least one more arrival before the deadline. Steve Bruce had wanted five (or more) signings after joining the club, but he suggested after the Saint-Etienne friendly that he would be “pleased” with this summer’s transfer business even if the club didn’t sign another player. He said the three signings so far are “real quality”. A right-back is Bruce’s priority, though another striker would be welcome too.”
Liam: “Steve Bruce has been very keen to play down United’s activity in the transfer market publicly, but you have to think he will want at least one more significant deal done between now and Thursday teatime. United need a right-back as DeAndre Yedlin and Javier Manquillo have proven not 100% reliable when asked to do the job long-term. An upgrade on those two, for me, is a must.”
And do you think departures are likely?
Miles: “I think there will be some departures, if only on loan. Bruce has more players than he needs for his 25-man Premier League squad, and a few on the fringes could leave on loan or even permanent deals. Bruce is minded to keep Jack Colback at the club, but the midfielder might not make the cut. Sean Longstaff, according to Bruce, is not for sale. Bruce has also said that he wants to keep Dwight Gayle, while Jonjo Shelvey, meanwhile, is adamant that he’s staying at Newcastle.”
Liam: “In short, yes. United have a number of players who are unlikely to form part of Bruce’s plans. The first name that springs to mind is Achraf Lazaar. Bruce might have signed him at Sheffield Wednesday but it’s clear he’s on the way out the exit door. This deal may well be done after Thursday, though, with other transfer windows around Europe remaining open. I expect United to stay true to their word and rebuff any bids for Sean Longstaff and it is expected Isaac Hayden will remain.”
In an ideal world what areas do you think Steve Bruce needs to strengthen?
Miles: “Up front and right-back are the two areas that stand out. Bruce has a few strikers and forwards, but he doesn’t have a powerful striker who’s comfortable playing with his back to goal to deputise for Joelinton if the summer signing is unavailable for any reason. Bruce doesn’t seem convinced by either DeAndre Yedlin or Javier Manquillo, his right-backs, and the club has been looking at options in that area.”
Liam: “People seem very quick to overlook it but United are a body light in central midfield. They have Longstaff, Jonjo Shelvey and Hayden as your first choice but bar Ki, they only have the inexperience of Matty Longstaff, with Jack Colback far from certain of a place in United’s 25-man squad. Aside from that the obvious areas are at right-back and also United are a forward light, despite what Bruce says. Andy Carroll would be a real crowd pleaser.”
What do you make of Newcastle's business so far?
Miles: “So far, so good. The club has reinvested the money banked from the £30million sale of Ayoze Perez to Leicester City and a bit more besides. Joelinton has all the attributes needed to flourish up front in the Premier League. However, only time will tell whether he can be as effective as former loanee Salomon Rondon. Allan Saint-Maximin is a talent, no question. He’s the type of winger that has long excited fans at St James’s Park, while Jetro Willems should suit the left wing-back role.”
Liam: “At this stage, this is a difficult on to judge. I feel a lot more positive about the squad now than I did a few weeks back, but that was starting from a pretty low base. Losing Premier League experience in Mo Diame, Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez could be costly, but I do like what I’ve seen from Joelinton.”
Is the United squad in a better place than it was this time last year or worse?
Miles: “Hard to say. The club has lost a lot of Premier League experience. Perez, Rondon and Mohamed Diame have all gone, and the three players signed by United haven’t played a competitive Premier League game between them. That’s a concern. If you factor in the January arrival of Miguel Almiron, and the emergence of Sean Longstaff, then maybe the squad is in a slightly better place, though Perez and Rondon, in particular, will be missed.”
Liam: “United have signed unproven players for the Premier League. Allan Saint-Maximin and Joelinton look incredibly bright and Sean Longstaff only continues to get better and better but I still find it very difficult to see a United XI with no Perez in it. He is a massive loss. United have upgraded on the left with Jetro Willems – if he can stay fit – and the core, in the defensive half of the pitch, remains unblemished. From front to middle you’d have to say it is as you were but the jury is out up top. Will the new boys replace the goals of Perez and Rondon? Only time will tell.”