According to an ‘exclusive’ from Football Insider’s Peter O’Rourke, Rafa Benitez is planning to make a move for Fulham’s Joe Bryan if he stays at St James’ Park this summer.
This could make sense – he was believed to be a target of ours last summer and is the sort of attacking left-back who could fit in well at wing-back – however it’s worth taking all transfer rumours with a pinch of salt before Benitez’s future is sorted.
Here’s a snippet from Football Insider’s latest transfer ‘exclusive’:
‘Newcastle are plotting a move to sign Fulham defender Joe Bryan this summer, Football Insider understands.
‘The north-east giants have held a long-term interest in Bryan and considered a move for the full-back prior to his move to Fulham from Bristol City last summer.
‘Fulham are now facing a fight to keep hold of their best players in the wake of relegation and a Newcastle source has told Football Insider the club are ready to test the Londoners’ resolve to hang onto Bryan.
‘Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez is looking to add another left-back to his ranks ahead of next season and is an admirer of the Fulham left-back.
‘Antonio Barreca set to return to Monaco after his loan spell at St James’ Park and Bryan, who signed for Fulham for £6million last summer August, is among the Spanish manager’s top targets.
‘Bryan would fit the bill for Benitez as he can play at left-back or left wing-back, with Newcastle playing with a system of advanced wide defenders during the last couple of months of the season.’
He may have been part of a relegated Fulham side last season, but there’s several reasons to believe this is a deal we are considering – even if Rafa’s future is yet to be sorted.
He signed for Fulham for just £6m last summer so should be available at a cut-price fee now they’ve been relegated, he was a player we were looking at last summer and the fact he’s an energetic and attacking left-back means he might be seen as an ideal candidate to compete with Matt Ritchie next season.
The fact he’s also 25 means he’s someone who would fit into Mike Ashley’s buying policy – something Rafa Benitez may have to worth with if he sticks around this summer.
A few people may feel he’s one we should be avoiding given how woeful Fulham’s defence looked last season, but the last few relegated defenders we signed turned out to be more than good enough in a decent Rafa Benitez side (Fernandez and Schar!).
Here’s him in action during his time at Bristol City: