The January transfer window can make or break a side. Inevitably, what one does in January affects the business end of the season, yet, teams are reluctant to sell in the mid-season window, particularly as it will impact their own side and club with only a few months to go until another year has been ticked off.
A midfielder the key
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce has remained coy about who or what he is targeting in this window, though a midfielder certainly looks a necessity. And, you can back United to bring in another recruit with bookie free bets.
There are six centre-backs and three right-backs at United, giving the Magpies a defensively heavy squad. Whilst Miguel Almiron, Joelinton and Allan Saint-Maximin finally appear to be settling into life in the Premier League and with back-up striker Andy Carroll fit and raring to go in the wings, there seems to be only place necessary to strengthen: midfield.
Newcastle have defied the odds this season to sit in 13th in the Premier League table – a position which could have been much higher had United not had a downturn in form of late. That, in itself, suggests that Bruce needs to strengthen or perhaps burnout and an ever-slow creep to the bottom of the league.
Newcastle have made very little noise in the transfer market so far this season, but Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka has been linked to the Magpies in recent months. Of course, Xhaka would likely come – if there is real interest – given the Swiss’ predicament at Arsenal.
His soured relationship with Gunners fans is only likely to ever yield one way – an exit. And, if Bruce can get Xhaka on board, it will bring experience, desire – if a little misused sometimes – and passion, which is what the St James’ Park faithful loves to see.
Would anything actually happen?
Yet, it seems that almost every transfer window there are whispers that United will spend big – they did just that in the summer with Bruce given a hefty war chest of over £60 million to bring in the likes of Joelinton, Saint-Maximin and Emil Krafth.
The reality for Toon fans, however, is the fact that January after January follows an increasingly similar pattern with speculation in abundance but nothing too concrete. And, as the end of January approaches, United may see the odd loan signing or two, but it will be those players from clubs that they no longer need or want.
A midfielder is certainly what Bruce needs, whether he can get it or not remains an entirely different question.