The Newcastle United deals that could happen before Watford – a crucial week for Eddie Howe in the transfer market
It is set to be a crucial week for Eddie Howe and Newcastle United in the transfer market.
Following the marquee signing of Kieran Trippier in the opening week of the January transfer window, the rumour mill keeps churning but no further arrivals have come through the door as of yet.
The Magpies were humiliated in the FA Cup third round by Cambridge United at St James’s Park on Saturday in a game that further highlighted Howe’s need to bring in reinforcements across the pitch ahead of a vital run of Premier League fixtures.
When you sit 19th in the Premier League after 19 games, every match is crucial. But this weekend United will host 17th placed Watford in a match that could prove decisive for both clubs in their efforts to avoid the drop.
Victory for Newcastle would see them leapfrog The Hornets in the table and potentially out of the bottom three for the first time since September. Defeat would leave them five points from safety with 18 games remaining.
Signings before the weekend would be a welcome and necessary boost for Howe, who is hopeful of getting some business done.
“We would love to [sign players],” he told BBC Newcastle. “I think you can see what Kieran did to the team. The response to him was first class. New signings at this moment would breathe new confidence into the team. So, fingers crossed.”
As quality a player as Trippier is, he’s not a goalscorer or match-winner that will help fire Newcastle to safety. And with top-scorer Callum Wilson out for the next eight weeks with a calf injury and Dwight Gayle currently unavailable, Newcastle risk heading into one of their most important matches of the season without a recognised senior striker.
The experiment of playing three wingers up front against Cambridge backfired as Newcastle’s attacking issues were laid bare.
Burnley’s Chris Wood is a name reportedly on Newcastle’s radar this month but The Clarets are understood to be very reluctant to sell to their relegation rivals.
The 30-year-old New Zealand international has netted double figures in each of his last four full top-flight campaigns. He may not be a glamorous name, but has been viewed as an upgrade on Gayle capable of filling the gap in Wilson’s absence.
Although at this stage, a deal looks unlikely.
But one deal that is gathering pace is a move for out-of-favour Norwich City midfielder Todd Cantwell.
The 23-year-old is out of contract at Carrow Road in the summer but Norwich do have an option to extend his deal for another year.
Cantwell was left out of the Norwich side that beat Charlton in the FA Cup third round on Sunday despite Canaries boss Dean Smith stating prior to the match that he was in contention to feature.
Illness was the official reason for Cantwell's absence, but his omission has only fuelled speculation regarding a potential move to Newcastle – Leicester City are also reportedly interested.
It is understood that it would require a bid of around £15million for Norwich to consider selling to their relegation rivals.
Cantwell scored six goals in his debut Premier League season in 2019-20 but has been limited to just eight appearances this campaign and has not registered a goal or assist so far.
Of all the players linked with a move to Newcastle, this one currently looks the most likely to happen before the Watford match.
Another deal that Newcastle were hoping to push through ahead of their next match was for Lille defender Sven Botman.
The 21-year-old is The Magpies’ top centre-back target this month as they look to come to an agreement with the reigning Ligue 1 champions.
Lille are reluctant to sell the Dutch Under-21 international but Newcastle have been persistent in their pursuit of the defender, having made two bids already.
According to reports in France, Newcastle would have to smash their record transfer fee to land Botman with Lille slapping a £45million price tag on the young defender.
Newcastle have money to spend and are in need of reinforcements at centre-back, but the £12million deal for Trippier shows the club won't be taken for a ride this transfer window as they approach business diligently.
Botman should certainly improve Newcastle’s defence, but cash-stripped Lille are currently driving a hard bargain. The defender is understood to be keen on a move but Lille’s stubbornness could see Newcastle turn their attentions elsewhere.
The Magpies still have other plates spinning regarding defensive additions with Sevilla’s Diego Carlos and Monaco’s Benoit Badiashile also being looked at.
Ultimately, it is strikers Newcastle need ahead of the Watford game and names are constantly being linked with the club. Just 10 days into the window and the rumour fatigue has firmly set in with several new players reported every day.
A move for Bayer Leverkusen striker Patrik Schick is unlikely with the German club asking for £50million for the player, according to Sky Sports. Schick shone at Euro 2020 for Czech Republic with five goals and has netted 17 goals in 15 Bundesliga matches so far this season.
Liverpool’s Divock Origi, Bournemouth’s Dominic Solanke, Zenit St Petersburg’s Sardar Azmoun and Reims’ Hugo Ekitike are all names that have been linked with a move to Newcastle this window but it is understood no formal bids have been made as of yet.
The situation will change quickly as the week progresses as it is clear Newcastle are desperate to bring in a striker before Saturday.
Conducting transfer business in desperation is far from ideal for Newcastle. Clubs will look to use this to their advantage and drive prices up for players, as is often the case in January.
But progress is expected, with a vital few days ahead.