As we come to the end of the season, some clubs will be looking to next season, and how to build upon where they find themselves. Whether that is relegation from the Premiership, Promotion from the Championship, building on a mid table finish, or trying to break into the Champions League places.
No one knows which side of the market Newcastle will be looking at when the Transfer Window opens, whenever that is. As it stands Mike Ashley is owner, so bargains are the buzz around the corridors of St James’, even with the odd player breaking the transfer record. Where better to look for those bargains than the relegated sides. With a Covid influenced transfer window, many get the feeling this could be a buyers market instead of a sellers one, with it being unlikely we will see some of the massive transfer fees we have seen in recent years.
As the table stands, it looks like the relegation battle is between West Ham, Watford, Bournemouth, Aston Villa and Norwich City. Each team has some decent players, and no doubt a whole raft of clubs will be looking to scavenge what they can from the three that go down. So who should Newcastle look at, regardless of the Takeover.
I put the question to twitter last night, with a few suggestions of my own, and some decent suggestions came in from fellow Newcastle fans. First I will look at the three suggestion son the poll, which seemed popular, then a run down of other suggested players!
First on my list who is someone I don’t think we have been linked with before, the Watford striker/winger Gerard Deulofeu.
The former Barcelona youth player, who has also had spells at Everton, as well as a return to the Catalan side, where he played alongside a certain genius Argentine forward, has been a star player for Watford.
He is off a similar style to Almiron in sense of ability, probably not as much of a highlight reel as Allan Saint-Maximin. However the way the there behind our striker at the minute drift into different positions, could suit a player like Deulofeu. Although I am a fan of Joelinton, the ease and pace in which Deulofeu goes past players, and makes that final pass, could be the missing piece of the puzzle in that attacking three with Miggy and ASM, throw in a quality number 9, and it could be a decent front 4.
His importance to Watford cannot be understated, and if they were to stay up, holding onto a player of his quality will be high on agenda for Nigel Pearson, but relegation could pave a way to bring the Spaniard north.
The next name on the list, is Norwich winger Emi Buendia. The young Argentine player has been one of the bright spots in an otherwise turgid season for the East Anglian side. Similar to Deulofeu, he would fit perfectly into the way Newcastle play, and could easily fit alongside Miggy and ASM in that floating three.
A free flowing attacking player, who is not afraid to do his duty at the other end of the pitch, could be a managers dream, whether that be Steve Bruce or whoever the owners in waiting want to bring in. His work rate is something that has won him praise from across the football spectrum as the season has continued.
I think I would be right in saying Daniel Farke’s side are down this season, after a promising start, which now seems a world away. No doubt there will be a lot of clubs looking to pick apart the Norwich side. Defensive players Max Aaron’s and Jamal Lewis will have plenty of suitors, as well as attacking midfielder Todd Cantrell (Another name mentioned on my twitter poll) could all leave the Canaries. Buendia is one that matches Newcastle’s blueprint under the current owner, a young decent player, who probably won’t cost as much as Deulofeu, and if Ashley were to stay in charge would have a good sell-on price should he keep developing as he is.
The third option I had was Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson. Newcastle have been on the look out for a permanent decent centre forward, something we haven’t seen since Demba Ba and Pappiss Cisse were at the club. Although Rondon had a cracking season last year, he was still a West Brom player, an option the club didn’t take up. Dwight Gayle has done well in spells, but seems to me at least to be a very good Championship striker, and an ok Premier League striker. Wilson could fill that gap.
Although Wilson and his Bournemouth team haven’t had the best of seasons, and currently find themselves in the bottom three, and on recent performances look almost certain to remain there come the end of the season. But there is no doubting the English forwards ability. With Newcastle now playing a more attacking form of football, and a lot more free flowing, our current set-up could suit a player of Wilson’s quality, this is lets not forget a player who has been linked with most of the ‘top 6’ for the past couple of years.
There is a chance that Wilson could be one of these ‘Covid bargains’ we keep hearing about. Bournemouth rely on TV and Premiership placement money to keep them going, in fact I believe its around 75-80% of their income. Relegation could seriously damage the South Coast club, and money and a rebuild will be needed should they end up in the Championship, with papers already saying Eddie Howe’s side would have to sell the likes of Wilson, Nathan Ake and Josh King. Wilson could be a decent signing to make, and should be well within Newcastle’s financial structure regardless of whose name is above the door.
When I put the question to twitter, there were plenty of votes for the three I suggested, but understandably there were some other options that Newcastle fans have suggested, which shows the quality some of the clubs at the bottom possess. Some of the names suggested would be quality signings, and could also be signings you wouldn’t be disappointed with even with Saudi money.
Two names kept appearing alongside Wilson, and they were Josh King and David Brooks. King is a player I like, and should Wilson not be an option King is by no means a downgrade. Having come through the ranks at Manchester United he would be classed as homegrown even though he represents Norway. A solid player who would fit in as a number 9 style striker, and someone you wouldn’t be unhappy with leading the line. Brooks likewise is someone who could fit into Newcastle’s style of play, however being mostly a right sided midfielder, could he easily float across the front 3 like our players do currently. Which for me is the only con to the young winger. Like I said with Wilson, should Bournemouth go down, they will need money, and a bargain could be had, just depends on who jumps on it first!
Originally there were two names put to me from West Ham, I did however add a third. Those players were Manuel Lanzini and Michael Antonio, and the one I added Pablo Fornals. Lanzini is a decent number 10, and as looked decent in his time at the Hammers, whether he would get in the team ahead of Miggy is another question, but still a decent backup if needed. Antonio has come out of the restart all guns blazing, and looks like he is single handedly trying to pull them out of trouble. Another centre forward who would look good in the current Newcastle side, and caused us a few problems on Sunday, even scoring after 3 minutes. Fornals is a decent young player. Even though he hasn’t really shown it this season, last summer in the under-21 championships he was by far and away Spain’s best player, which came as quite a surprise when he signed for West Ham, and didn’t end up at a Man U or Arsenal. All three would be decent signings for Newcastle, but with West Ham looking more likely to stay up, could need a big offer to prise them away from East London.
Again the fact there were a few Norwich players mentioned shows the quality they have, that just hasn’t worked this season for them. Todd Cantwell is a player that was mentioned a few times, and undoubtably has shown he has the quality to stay in the Premiership after this season. He is a player that will undoubtably have a myriad of suitors in the transfer window, and would be very surprised if he still a Norwich side come the start of the 2020/21 season. Hernandez and Pukki were the other names. Hernandez is a decent winger, and with Buendia have shown decent attacking intent at Carrow Road, which helped with his sides good start to the season, and contributed towards Pukki’s early season form. Pukki is a strange one, his goals have dried up quite a bit since Christmas, which has coincided with Norwich’s lack of form and goals. No doubt Pukki has proven he is a Premier league striker, and could do a job for a mid-table team. Is he the man to get you 20-30 goals a season though?
There was only one other name mentioned from Watford, that of Ismaila Sarr. The Hornets signed the French winger at the same time as we signed ASM, and in terms of stats is a similar player to our French Magician. The issue I’ve seen with Sarr, and this could just be me, is that he seems to stick on the right, which would cancel out any floating between positions from the supporting three. There is no doubt he is a quality player, could it be a cheaper option to make Lazaro’s move permanent?
No doubt any of the mentioned players would be a decent signing for most top flight teams. Whether there is a bargain to be had, time will only tell. Bournemouth for me would be the best to try and grab a cut price deal from, even to offer players in exchange to sweeten the deal. But looking at the quality of some of the players threatened with relegation this season, there are plenty that have the ability to stay in the Premiership, and are definitely players Newcastle should be looking at to build on this season.
Do you agree with the choices, or do you think there is a player we missed out? Let us know by following us on Twitter @Tft_Gallowgate