Despite the multiple reports about a small transfer budget, The Athletic report that a permanent move for Joe Willock is still a real possibility.
There isn’t scope to spend big this summer, meaning another loan move has been mooted, but the current board approach transfers in a unique way.
Each deal is judged on its merits. If a player under the age of 24 with potential sell-on value becomes available, the club may choose to do the deal.
Chris Waugh states that Newcastle ‘have leeway’ to make a £20m deal happen – despite claims Steve Bruce’s budget is just £10-£12m – as Willock would fit the strict criteria Mike Ashely has set for all big money buys.
Here’s a snippet from The Athletic‘s latest piece:
If Willock becomes available, Newcastle do have leeway to make the deal happen. The hierarchy are unlikely to permit the signing of two 27-year-olds for £10 million each but, should Arsenal prove willing to sell Willock for around £20 million, then Newcastle may consider exhausting their resources to secure his signature.
It all comes down to whether the so-called “right players”, as senior sources describe them, are available. And Willock — 21, a potential future England international and a firm favourite on Tyneside, following his eight goals on loan last season — qualifies as one.
Under Ashley, the three major principles that have driven Newcastle’s transfer approach have included age (24 and under), potential sell-on value and quality. Unless those strict criteria were met, then substantial fees would not be spent on players — but, if they were, then Newcastle were willing to stretch to greater lengths to finance a deal they believed to be an attractive one.
Essentially, Newcastle, particularly when it comes to expensive transfers, operate on a case-by-case basis.
The reports goes on to say Jamal Lewis was signed in this fashion. Last summer, Bruce’s entire ‘budget’ appeared to have been spent on Callum Wilson.
However, Lewis was a player wanted by bigger clubs and he was attainable for us, so the board agreed to sign him with funds outside of the transfer budget.
Although Lewis hasn’t worked out yet, it is clear he has a lot of talent and it could prove to be a shrewd move by the club in the future.
In terms of Willock, the report states that if he does become available, the club have the ability to make the move happen. He would certainly meet the criteria, as he is a proven quality in our current team with the potential to become an England international.
Given the disappointment of our summer to date, it would be a huge boost in the arm to sign Willock on a permanent.