German outlet Kicker claim Schalke could be willing to offload wantaway midfielder Nabil Bentaleb for as little as £4.5m.
They report that Bentaleb, who spent the second half of last season on loan, was turned down by the club at the initial ‘option to buy’ fee of £8.5m, but claim he could now be allowed to leave for almost half that in a bid to get the Algerian outcast off their books.
The piece states that the player was due back at Schalke training on August 12 but was allowed to stay away in order to sort out his future and find a permanent move.
Bruce may be tempted to swoop in for Bentaleb for such a low price, but with Hendrick set to sign and the former Spurs loanee doing little to impress during his loan spell at St James’ Park, would we really have him back?
Nothing he has done during his time here indicates that we should be desperately trying to snatch him from Schalke’s hands. His under-par performances meant that he struggled to warrant a place in the starting XI, with him often looking a liability in the middle of the park.
The 25-year-old featured 15 times for us but failed to show the sort of form that saw him earn a £16m move from Spurs to Schalke three years ago. Isaac Hayden looks far better suited to the holding role, while the likes of Sean Longstaff, Jeff Hendrick (if and when he signs) and Jonjo Shelvey are all likely to be ahead of him in the pecking order should we pursue a permanent move.
Then there’s Matty Longstaff. What sort of message would it send to him if we were offering a deal to a loan flop, but failing to up our offer for our most promising Academy product?
Signing Bentaleb wouldn’t make me furious but it certainly wouldn’t be an inspiring one either. I wouldn’t care if it didn’t detract funds from our purse for a striker, but at Ashley’s NUFC, you know it most definitely will.