Having all but ruled out permanent deals, Steve Bruce has insisted that it’ll be loan deals or nothing between now and next Tuesday’s transfer deadline.
Even then, he claims that incomings will only be possible if we move player out, stating that there’ll be no room in his 25-man squad unless he lets someone go.
We know he’s considering calling FOUR goalkeepers up to his EPL squad after Dubravka and Darlow suffers setbacks, yet there’s a potential transfer loophole he needs to be exploring.
In January, his squad was full, yet we still managed to bring in Joe Willock on loan, due to the fact players 21 or under do NOT have to be registered in the 25.
So, if he calls up four goalkeepers and fails to move on the likes of Sean Longstaff or Isaac Hayden – two players linked with exits over the past week – it is STILL possible for us to bring in a loan signing without impacting his 25-man squad.
With that in mind, we should be looking at players 21 or under who could add to our squad.
Two reported Toon targets stand out. Former Liverpool loanee Ozan Kabak and 20-year-old Chelsea talent Ethan Ampadu.
According to the BBC, 21-year-old Kabak was all set to sign on loan in January, only for Liverpool to hijack the deal following injuries to Van Dijk, Gomez and Matip.
He’s now back at Schalke and, although the Germans appear to prefer a permanent deal, a loan with an option to buy could be a no-brainer given our prior interest.
As for Ampadu, he’s available on loan and a ball-playing defender who also has plenty experience playing in central midfield.
Given this is the route we took to get Joe Willock in back in January, these two – and any other available young talents – will surely be on our radar.
If Bruce is going to go with four goalkeepers and struggles to sell a fringe player or two between now and next Tuesday, this has to be something the club strongly considers heading into the final few days of the window.