Newcastle United have never needed much encouragement to go searching for cut-price bargains under Mike Ashley, but with COVID impacting the club’s finances and Bruce happy to go with the flow, 2021 could be a year that sees us hunt for discounted deals more than ever.
With that in mind, there’s TWO players who may well fit our bill perfectly – both financially and based on their ability on the pitch.
One is Bournemouth’s versatile forward Josh King and the other Sheffield United’s box-to-box midfielder John Lundstram.
Starting with King, he’s been linked with a move to Tyneside for a few years now and is set to be available on a free transfer at the end of the season (providing someone doesn’t sign him on cheap this month!).
He has previously struck up an impressive partnership with Callum Wilson and is in a similar boat to Ryan Fraser regarding his contract situation – so I’m pretty certain we’ll be monitoring the possibility of another Cherries star arriving on a free!
With Dwight Gayle also out of contract at the end of the season, this for me would be shrewd upgrade.
Who knows, Bournemouth may even entertain a January swap deal given Gayle’s proven ability to fire teams to promotion! That is very much hypothetical, but King’s availability on the cheap, versatility and experience at Premier League makes him a no-brainer I expect us to pursue.
Then to John Lundstram – a slightly more uninspiring option but hear me out!
The Everton Academy graduate got his first taste of Premier League football with Sheffield United last season, and I thought he was outstanding.
Crucially, he’s a box-to-box midfielder – something our engine rooms sorely lacks – and looks set to be available on a free transfer this summer after rejecting the Blades’ latest contract offer.
He’s been in and out of their struggling side this season – mainly due to his uncertain future and refusal to sign a new deal – however I think he offers a bit of that power, energy and drive our midfield is missing and wouldn’t be at all surprised if he’s one we’re also looking at.
Given he’s still only 26 and fits into Bruce’s ‘buy-British’ approach to signings, he’s definitely one to watch.
Don’t get me wrong, Lundstram isn’t someone I’d see as a guaranteed started or the answer to our midfield woes, but he’d fill that gaping hole in our engine room far better than a Jeff Hendrick or Nabil Bentaleb – with fans praying the latter doesn’t return for a second loan spell this month!