The piece claims Bruce is keen to bring in ‘two or three’ next month – despite him publicly playing down expectations – although it may come as a surprise to see him targeting two defenders.
He’s spent a ‘large amount of time monitoring Holgate’s progress’ according to the report, with us expected to make a ‘formal offer’ in January, while our interest in bringing ex-Mag Gibson back to Tyneside has been well documented for several months now.
Here’s what the Northern Echo’s Scott Wilson has had to say about our interest in both:
NEWCASTLE UNITED are hoping to pull off a January double deal by signing Everton duo Mason Holgate and Lewis Gibson.
While Steve Bruce has attempted to dampen down expectations ahead of the reopening of the transfer window at the start of next month, the Newcastle boss has held a number of discussions with the rest of his recruitment team and is keen to bring in two or three players if possible.
He has been scouting players in a variety of different positions, but is understood to have spent a large amount of time monitoring Holgate’s progress this season.
His versatility is seen as one of his major assets, as he is equally at home playing at centre-half or right-back. He even spent part of Everton’s weekend draw with Manchester United playing as a defensive midfielder because of a lack of alternative options in the position.
His age and likely valuation fit the model that has become well established at Newcastle under Mike Ashley, and Magpies officials are hoping the ongoing uncertainty at Goodison Park, with Duncan Ferguson overseeing first-team affairs in a caretaker capacity, could aid their hopes of pushing through a deal.
Everton will be reluctant to lose the Doncaster-born defender as they are short of defenders themselves, but Newcastle are ready to make a formal move at the start of next month.
They are also keen to re-sign Gibson, having been unable to prevent the youngster joining Everton in a £6m move in the summer of 2017.
Everton effectively poached Gibson from Newcastle’s academy after the teenager grew disillusioned with the Magpies’ youth set-up at the time, but his two-and-half years on Everton’s books have not gone as planned.
Now 19, and a member of England’s victorious Under-17 World Cup winning team, Gibson is still to make his senior debut for the Toffees.
He has played extensively for the club’s Under-23s team, representing them in the EFL Trophy, but had hoped to have been given a first-team opportunity before now.
His current contract is due to expire at the end of the season, and while Everton are keen to tie him down to new terms, he could opt to pursue alternative options elsewhere.
As a childhood Newcastle fan, who remains close friends with Sean and Matty Longstaff, the Magpies would be well placed to lure him back to Tyneside. Steve Bruce has a displayed a willingness to give young players a chance, and Gibson could feel he is more likely to establish himself as a Premier League player with Newcastle than Everton.
I can see why Holgate fits the club’s buying policy and impressed Bruce – he is a versatile young player with potential – but I can’t understand why we’d look to spend around £14m on an area of the pitch that does NOT need strengthening.
Yes we can play centrally or out wide, but we have SIX capable centre-backs on our books and three first-team right-backs to choose from.
A move for Gibson would be great to see, with the 19-year-old Geordie not only one for the future but being able to play at left-back – a position we lack depth in.
As for Holgate though, it would be so careless to spend relatively big money on a defender when we’re crying out for more goals and flair in attacking areas.