Jeff Hendrick may be closing in on a move to St James’ Park, but Craig Hope’s latest piece for the Daily Mail paints a worrying picture as we head towards the business end of summer transfer window.
He suggests Hendrick may be the archetype of transfer business Newcastle attempt to do this summer, claiming Steve Bruce may be forced to spend the summer shopping for bargains and loan deals, with Mike Ashley reluctant to sanction any big money deals.
As an example, it’s thought Bruce is finding it ‘difficult’ to pursue top targets Callum Wilson and Chris Smalling, with himself and the club’s hierarchy said to have different ideas about our willingness to spend over the coming six weeks.
Here’s a snippet from Hope’s piece for The Mail, which reveals some damning claims that have emerged from agents aware of our approach so far this summer:
“Newcastle are set to complete the free transfer signing of former Burnley midfielder Jeff Hendrick – and spending will be kept to a minimum at the club this summer.”
“Sportsmail has spoken to several agents who say the Magpies are primarily in the market for loan signings, preferably with a percentage contribution to salary rather than covering the full wage.”
The last line seems particularly damning, suggesting the club (Mike Ashley) really is trying to save every penny possible this summer – even on potential loan deals.
This indicates that Bruce is facing a serious battle to land the likes of Wilson and Smalling on lucrative permanent deals, suggesting our alleged budget of £30m is as limited as it sounds.
Hope touches on this below, believing it will put his ‘good relationship’ with Lee Charnley to the test:
“Steve Bruce could find it difficult when it comes to targeting the likes of Manchester United defender Chris Smalling and Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson.”
“Sources have indicated that the manager’s wish-list may not tally with what the club’s hierarchy have in mind.”
“Bruce has a good relationship with managing director Lee Charnley but that could be put to the test in the coming weeks as the extent of Newcastle’s ambition in the transfer market is determined.”
“They will not be alone in curtailing their investment in new players, but the collapse of the Saudi-led takeover and Mike Ashley’s determination to sell the club means there is little appetite for lavish expense, such as the £40million spent on Joelinton last summer. Some scouts even remain on furlough.”
Considering the signing of a goalscorer is absolutely essential this summer, this doesn’t exactly bode well – especially when they rarely come cheap!
It’s also worth noting that Wilson and Smalling are 28 and 30 respectively, so their age could be as much of an issue as their £20m price tags, with this being a regime that said no to a £16.5m deal for a 29-year-old Salomon Rondon 12 months ago.
It seems that Newcastle fans must expect another summer of austerity on Tyneside, but hopefully Bruce is handed some leeway or lands at least a few bargains to send us into the new season with a squad capable of competing.