It’s looking increasingly likely that there’ll be no more first-team signings come through the door before tonight’s 11pm deadline.
I say this as a host of North-East reporters have stated today that Peruvian new boy Rodrigo Vilca will be the only arrival on Tyneside today as things stand – and he’ll link up with our Academy initially, not the senior side.
Last month we were pleasantly surprised to see Callum Wilson (£20m), Jamal Lewis (£15m) and Ryan Fraser (free) arrive in what turned out to be a brilliant week for Steve Bruce, however our lack of movement since then could prove costly.
Bruce has said that the club “can’t keep collecting players” after struggling to move on deadwood like Yedlin, Atsu, Aarons, Lazaar and Saivet, but our inability to strengthen in a few key areas since that busy week in September could really come back to bite Mike Ashley.
My first thought if we fail to sign between now and 11pm is the mess we’d be in should anything happen to Callum Wilson, with our inability to bring in another striker being the first of two BIG risks for me.
He’s been brilliant so far, bagging four goals and an assist in as many Premier League appearances, but take him away and we’re in real trouble up top. Andy Carroll doesn’t look mobile enough to get in the box never mind score a few goals, Dwight Gayle looks set to miss the first half of the season, Joelinton is best used in a deeper role and Yoshinori Muto is out in Spain and also not an out and out striker.
Mike Ashley deserves some credit for backing Bruce and scrapping his tedious transfer policy to sign £20m on a 28-year-old Wilson, but if he gets injured we’re in a mess. As ever at Newcastle United, we’ve taken a risk.
Talking of risks, our decision to let Florian Lejeune leave on loan without signing a replacement feels like a bizarre one, bringing me onto the second key area that Steve Bruce clearly wanted to strengthen.
I say ‘clearly’ because Rob Holding was all set to sign until Arsenal pulled the plug on that loan deal, yet it looks like we’ll end the window without bringing in an alternative – despite having over a month to do so.
Some feel we still have plenty options at centre-back – and we do if everyone’s fit – but Dummett and Clark have barely played all year and keep picking up knocks and Schar could be set for another spell on spell on the sidelines if scans show his shoulder is injured again.
We don’t suffer quite as much in this department if there’s on injury, so it’s not quite as desperate as the striker situation could become, however this feels like the second risk we could be about to take today.
There’s still just over two hours left and loans can be done quickly, but it looks like we’re done until January.