The transfer window is open and, despite one recent report claiming Bruce will have a ‘£50m budget’, the prevailing opinion is that funds will be tight.
With that in mind, we’ve picked out a host of previously linked players and possible options who look set to be available on cut-price deals this summer.
1. Andros Townsend – Looks set to be available on a free with his contract coming to an end at Crystal Palace this summer. Speaks highly of his time on Tyneside, was popular with fans, strikes me as a player Steve Bruce would like and still only 29. Would be a handy squad player.
2. Hamza Choudhury – Very nearly signed on loan in January, only for Leicester to keep him after failing to sign a replacement. Has barely played since and will be moved on this summer. Loan with option to buy? I’m certain we’ll have another try here – especially now Rodgers appears to have his replacement in former Toon target, Boubakary Soumare.
3. Jetro Willems – Available on a free next month & appears to be fit again, being back in Frankfurt’s squad since late January. A slight risk given that ACL injury, but he’s cheap, was brilliant during loan spell, is hugely popular, eager to return & ideal in a back five.
4. Josh King – Another free agent after being released by Everton. Knows Wilson/Fraser very well & has been linked with NUFC for several years now. Versatile and could be an ideal replacement for Dwight Gayle.
5. Ademola Lookman – Sky Sports confirmed last January that we were in talks to sign the winger from Leipzig. It didn’t happen and he went to Fulham instead, but he won’t be staying after relegation. We’re over-reliant on ASM & could well take another look.
6. Conor Gallagher – Another who has had a quietly impressive loan spell with a recently relegated side in West Brom. We’ve been linked more than once and it’s been said he’ll fight for his place at Chelsea, however another loan move seems likely later this summer.
7. Ozan Kabak – According to the BBC, we were all set to sign him on loan in January before Liverpool hijacked our bid on deadline day. It’s been revealed that he won’t be saying at Liverpool and we appear to be in the market for at least one CB summer, so he’s definitely one to watch if Schalke allow him to go out on loan again.
8. Ainsley Maitland-Niles – According to Sky Sports and the BBC, Bruce looked at him last summer & in January before we landed Joe Willock. Likely to be available when he returns to Arsenal from a loan spell at West Brom. Given he can play LB, RB or CM, he’d be a very handy signing.
9. Brandon Williams – The Chronicle confirmed our interest in January, but Solskjaer decided not to let him leave. He’s got so little game time since & will need minutes in 2021/22. Can play at LB or RB and Bruce will have contacts at Man Utd.
10. Eddie Nketiah – Will have seen Willock flourish with game time at Newcastle and is someone Arsenal may be happy to send our way. An England U-21 star who could learn a lot from Wilson & provide more of a goal threat than Gayle or Carroll. Possible loan target.
11. Ross Barkley – Bruce confirmed earlier this season that he was a player he tried to sign last summer, with Callum Wilson also talking up a potential partnership with the attacking midfielder. He won’t be joining Villa on a permanent deal and looks likely to leave Chelsea. I wouldn’t be surprised if we take another look if he’s available on loan again.
12. Ruben Loftus-Cheek – Another player who will be surplus to requirements at Chelsea this summer once he returns from a surprisingly poor loan spell at Fulham. Needs a move to reignite a once promising career & we’ve been linked in the past.
13. Axel Tuanzebe – One thing this NUFC side really lacks at centre-back is pace & athleticism; two things he has in abundance. Bruce will have good links with Man Utd & this could be a smart move that suits all parties. We’ve not been linked, but I think we will be soon…
14. Boulaye Dia – The Chronicle confirmed we’d been watching him closely just last year. His goals have dried up in 2021, but he’s out of contract next year – reducing any fee this summer – and has still bagged 16 times in a poor Reims side. Only 24 & would be affordable.
15. William Saliba – We need a centre-back, he needs a loan to get valuable game time at Premier League level and Arsenal will see us as the ideal place for the Frenchman to develop based on Joe Willock’s outstanding spell on Tyneside.
16. Adam Armstrong – He’ll be keen to return home and we’ll never have a better chance to sign him. Not only is there talk of him leaving on a cut-price deal – his contract expiring in 12 months time – we also have a 40% sell-on clause that could allow us to sign him at a heavily discounted fee.
Anyone you think we’ve missed off or do you have a summer hunch when it comes to a potential arrival that’s gone under the radar? Let us know in the comments below!