The transfer window is officially open.
With new owners yet to arrive and a Saudi takeover still up in the air, it seems the current regime will be overseeing any incoming business this summer.
Both that and the fact we’re coping with the financial impact of COVID-19 mean we’ll likely be on the look out for bargains this summer, with Bruce admitting last week that ‘value for money’ could be key in a bid to improve our side without breaking the bank.
With that in mind, here’s a few players we might just look at over the next two months:
1. Ryan Fraser
Recently released by Bournemouth, but a proven Premier League winger who could add pace and creativity – yet cost nothing.
There’ll be plenty clubs keen, however we’ve been linked in the past (The Athletic credited us with interest earlier this year) and he may just fancy a move up North closer to his native Scotland.
2. Ibrahim Sangare
The 6ft 3′ holding midfielder has been tipped to leave a cash-strapped Toulouse recently relegated to Ligue 2 and fits our buying policy, being a 22-year-old with big potential who may be available at a reasonable price.
Mark Douglas stated in a recent piece for The Chronicle that one of our top priorities this summer is to add ‘legs’ to our midfield and Sangare could offer exactly that, with the Ivory Coast powerhouse offering a great blend of physical presence and ability on the ball.
3. Jetro Willems
Our option to sign the Dutchman at the end of his loan deal may have expired, but a move for the left-back hasn’t been ruled out by all account, with him said to be making excellent progress with his knee injury.
Frankfurt may well be looking to cash in and could accept a cut-price fee, making him a no-brainer for NUFC if we see he’s made a full recovery.
4. Ebere Eze
He may not be a ‘budget’ signing, however struggling Championship side QPR may be forced to cash in at a fee far lower than they’d normally be able to command due to COVID-19.
Bruce has regularly said that he’s looking to add the sort of flare Allan Saint-Maximin has brought to his side, so Eze could be an ideal signing to bring spark and creativity to our trio behind the striker.
5. Ollie Watkins
This one may be reliant on Brentford missing out on promotion via the play-offs, however The Athletic recently revealed that a £18m release clause exists in his current contract.
With him the Championship’s second top scorer on 25 goals and looking every bit good enough to make the step up in recent seasons, he could be a bargain at this price.
6. Alfredo Morelos
With clubs in the SPL said to be hit as hard as anyone from the global pandemic, Rangers may be forced to cash in on their free-scoring Colombian.
Lille are makes me wonder if he’s one we may take a chance on.
7. Michy Batshuayi
A loan move could be wise if he signs a new deal at Stamford Bridge, however he may well leave on the cheap this summer given he’s entering the final 12 months of his Chelsea contract.
The Belgian international managed a 1 in 2 record at Palace during a recent loan spell and is still only 26, having a point to prove at Premier League level after chances at Chelsea have been few and far between.
8. Malang Sarr
Recently released by OGC Nice and still without a club, the France U-21 international could be a real coup if we cash in on Schar and look to replace him with a younger centre-back.
With some reports tipping us for a defensive reshuffle this summer, Sarr could be a very shrewd signing – especially when the vast majority of our current options are reaching the twilight years of their career.
9. Valentino Lazaro
A £20m deal seems out of the question based on his limited game time since arriving from Italy, however it’s been suggested in recent days that Inter may be open to another loan deal with an obligation to buy next summer.
For me he’s a very talented player who would soon prove his worth at Premier League level if given more minutes, making another loan deal an ideal opportunity to bring in quality but keep costs down for now.
10. Josh King
It’s tough to say if he’d be available at a fee that fits into our tight budget, but with Bournemouth relegated and King himself now entering the final year of his Cherries contract, there’s a potential bargain to be had here.
We’re big admirers of him if The Chronicle’s Lee Ryder is to be believed, so he could be one the watch.