One of Rafa Benitez’s biggest mistakes during his time on Tyneside was his decision to sell both Ivan Toney and Adam Armstrong – strikers who now make up the Championship’s two top scorers with a combined 59 goals across 2020/21.
While everybody has been raving about Toney – and rightfully so – for smashing the Championship record with 31 goals, former academy product Armstrong’s contribution has gone slightly under the radar.
He has bagged an outstanding 28 times this campaign for a Blackburn side who’ve loitered around mid-table and ultimately finished 15th. This makes you think, had he been the main man for play-off hopefuls Brentford instead of Toney, just how many would he have got?!
Alarm bells should be ringing around St James’ Park when they consider that they let both go for just over £2m, a pittance when you consider how much the prolific pair would fetch a few years later!
While Toney will cost a bomb and be in no mood to return to the side that rejected him, it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if we looked to bring Armstrong back home this summer.
When Armstrong was sold to Blackburn in 2018, we instilled a 40% sell-on clause into his contract. A crafty move that allows us to reap a reward regardless of where he ends up before the start of next season.
However, this also hands us the opportunity to bring him back on the cheap, with us essentially enabling ourselves to sign him for almost half-price.
Reports in the media suggest Blackburn could command a fee in the region of £20-25m for their star striker’s services. Considering the 40% discount we’d be entitled to, that means we could bring him back for as little as £12m, which seems an enticing price considering he is one of the hottest properties in the Championship right now.
Still just 24-years old, he has a real turn of face, a clever footballing brain and a brilliant right foot – proving why Alan Pardew once described him as the best finisher at the club back in his teenage years on Tyneside. An England U20 World Cup winner, he has honed his skills in the lower leagues and is not far off being the finished article, ready to play in the Premier League.
Let’s not forget, he is also a Geordie through and through who first joined our academy setup when he was just nine years old, so there will be a burning desire to complete some unfinished business and score goals in a black-and-white shirt. The Chronicle have even reported that he would welcome a return to his boyhood club.
It looks like we made a mistake giving up so soon on both Armstrong and Toney, but we could make up for that slightly with a summer move for the former.
After all, we’ll never get a better chance to bring him home and could do with another hungry goalscorer who could learn a lot from Callum Wilson.