According to an ‘exclusive’ from Pundit Arena, Newcastle are one of several clubs trying to sign highly-rated young striker Jonathan Afolabi.
The 19-year-old is currently available on a free after leaving Southampton this summer, and it’s claimed both ourselves, Crystal Palace, Birmingham and Reading are all in the running to sign him.
Afolabi enjoyed an impressive European Championships with Ireland’s U19’s this summer, being named in UEFA’s ‘Team of the Tournament’ after several standout displays – and it seems his hopes of finding a new club have been boosted as a result.
He bagged 9 goals and 6 assists in 36 appearances for Southampton’s U-23’s and is a versatile forward, being capable of playing as a central striker or left winger.
It’s not what we need right now, with several key first-team additions being absolutely essential, but a free-agent deal for another highly-rated youngster would do no harm at U-23 level.
Here’s what Ireland’s U-21 boss Stephen Kenny had to say about the striker after his inclusion in UEFA’s U19 EURO Team of the Tournament:
“One of the things that has been a plus is the form of Jonathan Afolabi,” said Kenny.
“He’s been one of the best centre-forwards in the tournament without a doubt.
“A lot of players when they’re released from clubs it’s quite complex. Human emotion is what it is, some people maybe come home, get deflated and give up football.
“They fall out of love with the game for a year, it takes them sometimes a year to get the motivation back to get back playing. Jonathan has taken a setback but he hasn’t allowed that setback to set him back.
“He’s been very determined to show his quality and I think that was evident in Russia in the qualifying campaign, he was very prominent and I think he’s shown everyone a great example of how to react when you have been let go. He’s been exceptional.”