One thing Steve Bruce keeps saying when asked about his attempts to sign a much needed striker this summer is this need to ‘box clever’ in the transfer market.
This being because his budget is believed to have been chopped in half thanks to COVID-19, with many reporting that he has just £30-£35m to spend.
A proven goalscorer is absolutely essential – especially when Gayle has picked up another injury, Joelinton is yet to report back to training, Muto is being offered out and Carroll…well, he’s useful when fit but can’t be relied on to score goals or start week in, week out.
The Athletic recently revealed that one option we’ve been exploring this summer is part-exchange deals, with them naturally becoming popular when clubs have players to move on and positions to strengthen, yet less money to spend.
With this in mind, there’s FOUR potential deals we could pursue, all involving reported targets and clubs believed to be interested in one of our players:
Callum Wilson and Dwight Gayle?
The Telegraph recently revealed that Bournemouth have showed an interest in Gayle, despite his injury concerns, with his record in the Championship second to none.
That same report said he’s likely to see out the final year of his deal at NUFC and fight for his place, yet, with Bruce said to have identified Callum Wilson as his ‘top target’, a swap deal plus cash could make perfect sense for all parties.
The Cherries probably know he’ll leave at some point this summer, so a deal that allows them to sign a prolific second tier striker would surely appeal – and may suit us too when you look at the deal we did two summers ago involving West Brom, Dwight Gayle and Salomon Rondon.
This option may be a non starter should Gayle’s knee injury be even more serious than first feared, but it’s certainly an avenue worth exploring!
Alfredo Morelos and Jacob Murphy?
Jacob Murphy has been given a chance to impress by Steve Bruce so far in pre-season, however it wouldn’t surprise me if we cashed in should an attractive offer arrived.
Talking of offers, it’s been reported by more than one outlet over the past week that Steven Gerrard is keen to bring the former England U-21 star to Ibrox.
Alfredo Morelos would be a risky signing and one that would split opinion at SJP, but at 24 and with over 60 goals and 20 assists to his name across the past two seasons, a part-exchange here could be a frugal way of signing the Colombian star who Bruce is believed to be an admirer of.
His move to Lille has stalled and their asking price of around £15-£18m means Murphy plus cash could well tempt them?
Ollie Watkins and Jacob Murphy
Another deal involving Jacob Murphy, who’s stock in the Championship has soared after he was involved in 15 goals at Sheffield Wednesday last season.
The Chronicle recently confirmed that Ollie Watkins has been shortlisted by our recruitment team as one of the strikers on our radar, while the Northern Echo revealed earlier this month that Brentford are one of several second tier sides looking at Murphy.
With ex-Mag Ivan Toney set for Brentford, which could pave the way for Watkins’ exit, it’s something worth looking at if we haven’t already.
Jean-Philippe Mateta and Yoshinori Muto
This is a left-field option but one that doesn’t seem beyond the realms of possibility.
Firstly, the Daily Mail’s Craig Hope reports that we’ve been trying to offload Muto, and a return to Mainz – the club where he made a name for himself before making a £9.5m move to NUFC – could be an option.
They may not be keen to pay much of a fee, but this is where Jean-Philippe Mateta comes in – a French U-21 international that Sky Sports credited us with an interest in AFTER we brought Joelinton to the club last summer. Injuries cost him in 2019/20, but he bagged 14 goals in his debut season in the Bundesliga and possesses the sort of pace and power we lack up top.
Crystal Palace want him and have made a £14m bid, but could £10m plus former Mainz star Yoshinori Muto tempt them into selling?
Hypothetical talk that may come to absolutely nothing, but Bruce could do worse than explore these options based on our low budget and desperate need for a new striker.