If the reports that Steve Bruce has been handed a £50 million war chest are accurate, Newcastle is in a better position in the transfer market than was originally assumed.
The importance of having funds available to sign players during the summer window is obvious. Patrik Schick who recently scored two goals, including one from about 50 yards, for the Czech’s against Scotland at Hamden Park, was a long time Newcastle target. It would probably not have been feasible to sign both Schick and Callum Wilson last year, but Schick likely would have made a perfect partner for Wilson.
Schik’s market value can also easily increase during Euro2020, it seems far from unlikely that the £24m Bayer Leverkusen paid for the 25 year old striker, can turn out to have been a bargain.
Even if many of the relevant factors to consider when signing players seem obvious, actually deciding which players to sign, is in all likelihood, a far tougher task than most people realize. Some players like N’Golo Kante are contributing more to a team’s performance, by their work rate and defensive acumen, than is recognized by most casual fans. Furthermore the nationality and background of a player can often provide some pointers regarding his ability to adapt. This is one of the reasons why British players and players already having experience from one of Europe’s five big leagues, tend to command higher fees than other players.
£50m is obviously a substantial amount of money, even so, it is important to keep a proper perspective. Most established stars are unfortunately out of reach with such a budget and even a highly sought-after teenager not playing in one of the ”big five”-leagues, like Nuno Mendes, can easily end up costing more than 50 million.
Nuno Mendes and N’Golo Kante are clearly not targets for Newcastle. They were just mentioned as examples, there are however recent reports linking Newcastle to several players.
Joe Willock, who joined Newcastle on loan on 1 February 2021 and has scored 8 goals in 14 appearances is an obvious target. Newcastle are almost sure to make a move for Willock and it is widely assumed that the price would be in the range of £20-30m.
There is plenty of uncertainty about Newcastle’s defensive unit. Fabian Schar’s contract will expire at the end of next season and it is unknown whether Jamaal Lascelles will prolong his contract. As a result, it could be wise to try to strengthen the defense this summer.
The Valencia centre-back, Mouctar Diakhaby, is available on the market. Newcastle and Leicester City are among the Premiership clubs that is reported to have an interest in the French defender.
Another likely target is Liverpool’s Nat Phillips. He saw a fair bit of action due to Liverpool’s injury crisis last season and even if he was not their best player he sure did a good job covering for injured defenders like; Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip.
With Liverpool already having signed Ibrahima Konate from Leipzig and actively pursuing Ben White, it could make good sense for Phillips to move on.
Celtic’s Kristoffer Ajer, is another much discussed potential target. The tall Norwegian central defender has been a fan favourite in Glasgow. However, the Premiership would be a step up from the Scottish Premiership and even if some players like Virgil van Dijk have passed the test of moving from Scotland to England with flying colours, there are plenty of examples of players who have been unable to adapt properly.
The speculation about Newcastle being interested in various Chelsea players has been rife. The Magpies seem to be keen on Billy Gilmour, Tammy Abraham and Connor Gallagher. There were a lot of speculation about a loan deal for Gilmour towards the end of May and early June and reports indicate that Newcastle have been interested in Gallagher for two years on the bounce.
With Crystal Palace showing an interest in Gallagher and this likely driving the price up, our clear impression is that the Toon Army would prefer the club to try to get Willock rather than Gallagher