As the window comes to a close, it is only right that Newcastle have just now begun to conduct transfer business. After 23 days of hopeless waiting on anything to happen, fans can somewhat celebrate now that it appears Newcastle are trying to quickly get deals done in the loan market. This activity comes after an ultimatum made by Rafa that came out yesterday courtesy of Luke Edwards from The Telegraph, and seems pretty typical of Newcastle, a club who consistently waits until the last minute to conduct transfer business and have become experts at loaning players in under the Mike Ashley regime.
Nonetheless, any news on transfers is good news considering Newcastle desperately need replacements as half of the midfield is injured, we have no healthy left backs, and it seems as if we pick up a new injury every match. Here is all the latest transfer news surrounding the club.
Atlanta United and Newcastle United in Standoff Over Almiron
This story regarding Miguel Almiron is very simple, yet still incredibly complex. Newcastle are the only team who have placed a bid for Miguel having offered £16m. Atlanta believes Almiron is worth more than that, and neither team has seemed to change their stance. However, both organizations are in a sticky situation to get the deal done as Pity Martinez, Almiron’s replacement in Atlanta, has already arrived meaning Atlanta needs to make some sort of roster move to free up a slot for him. Additionally, it was revealed yesterday that the Almiron deal is understood to be a part of his ultimatum forcing Newcastle to sign transfer targets in January.
What makes the situation more complex is that it really is unclear who actually has the leverage in this deal. As previously reported by this site, Atlanta could and is exploring the option of loaning out one of their other Designated Players, Ezekiel Barco. This move would allow them to wait until the summer to sell Miguel Almiron for possibly a higher price considering he would have a more MLS games under his belt, some CONCACAF Champions League appearances, and more appearances with the Paraguayan National Team. However, it is becoming more and more apparent that loaning out Barco won’t be as easy as advertised. Although the young Argentine is understood to be a favorable target for many South American Clubs, his $1.5m loan fee and his salary is something that many South American clubs may not be able to afford.
Additionally, this situation of having a team with potentially 4 Designated Players is something the MLS has not faced before. The addition of a 3rd DP is relatively new to the league’s roster rules, and until recently many DPs were older players who would essentially retire after a season or two, freeing up DP slots for many teams. There is a consensus among MLS fans around the league that the league might alter their roster rules in order to help Atlanta United out, as additional young South American talent would only raise the quality of the league.
As reports surfaced on the price offered for Miguel, our resident expert on all things Miguel, Roberto Rojas, made the claim that Newcastle’s offer is on par with what he believes Miguel’s value is.
Newcastle in Serious Talks With Atletico Madrid Over Gelson Martins
The Chronicle have reported that following a meeting this weekend with Mike Ashley, Benitez has been given the all clear to bring in loan target Gelson Martins.
Martins is a familiar name to many as he has been a regular in the Portuguese National Team, and one of the star players who left Portuguese club Sporting CP after their infamous training ground incident.
The winger made a move in the summer to join Atletico Madrid, terminating his Sporting contract in the process, resulting in a free transfer for Atletico. Unfortunately, Martins has not panned out well at Atletico as he has only made 8 appearances this season for the team. It of course is important to mention that at Madrid the 23-year-old is competing with other insanely talented wingers such as Angel Correa, Thomas Lemar, and (occasionally) Antoine Griezmann.
Benitez is hoping Martins can provide competition for Kenedy, Atsu, and Murphy who have had a less than impressive season thus far. The hope is Martins can get back to the form that made him such a highly sought-after target in the summer. With Sporting he was able to amass 27 goals and 30 assists in 140 appearances. These are pretty good numbers for a guy who has played purely as a winger with the club
Initially it was reported by Douglas and Ryder that this deal would require a £4.5m loan fee. Lee has since confirmed that the fee could be negotiated lower, as it was revealed by Lee Ryder that the winger could be sold for as little as £4m this summer.*
The clubs are still talking over the price. There will be a loan fee but I don't think it's that high. We're looking to establish more info on this.— Lee Ryder (@lee_ryder) January 23, 2019
Note: Lee has since deleted his initial statement of claiming Martins could be available for £4m. A quote of his statement can be found here.
Newcastle Submit Loan Offer for Monaco Left Back
After losing a slew of their young talent over the past 3 seasons, reality has seemingly set in with French Club AS Monaco. The side are currently struggling in a relegation battle in Ligue 1, a league not necessarily known for its difficulty. That hasn’t stopped Rafa from targeting one of their players, a left back by the name of Antonio Barreca.
#nufc have also submitted their loan offer for Antonio Barreca of Monaco with sources at the struggling Ligue 1 club confirming United’s interest to us.— Lee Ryder (@lee_ryder) January 23, 2019
Lee Ryder was the first to break the story earlier today, as Newcastle are targeting yet another out of favor player from a club.
Barecca arrived at Monaco in the summer after spending his career up to that point playing with Torino. The 23-year-old Italian Left Back has not been able to be a consistent starter for Moncao, and it appears as if Monaco have already moved on as they have just signed another Left Back Fodé Ballo-Touré.
Barecca would provide much needed cover at the Left Back position for Newcastle, as the only Left Back on the roster is still Paul Dummett, despite Rafa asking for another Left Back 4 transfer windows in a row. Barecca would seemingly be a more offensive threat as he has played Left Mid and Left Wing while in Italy.
Potentially Permanent Double Loan Moves are “Pleasing” to Rafa
Luke Edwards has reported that the two loan moves Newcastle are currently pursuing are moves that Rafa approves of and would like to get done as soon as possible.
Edwards first writes that Benitez wants the moves done by Saturday. This would give Newcastle a little more time to get the two players acclimated to the squad, as well preventing any other clubs from swooping in last minute to obtain their signature at the end of January. Additionally, it allows Rafa to go over tactics with them as soon as possible, as well as gives them the opportunity to possibly be available for selection in next week’s match up against Man City.
Newcastle United are looking to sign two players on loan before the end of the week after bids were made for Monaco defender Antonio Barreca and Atletico Madrid winger Gelson Martins
Additionally, Edwards informs us that these moves are expected include clauses to make them permanent signings in the summer. Such moves are apparently pleasing to Rafa as it provides him with squad cover, and allows him to evaluate the players before making a decision on whether or not to make them permanent signings.
In the meantime, managing director Lee Charnley is trying to reach a compromise and sources have revealed the moves for Italy Under-21 international Barreca and Portugal international Martins have been welcomed by Benitez, as long as they do not collapse over personal terms and loan fees.
Significantly, both deals are expected to contain a clause that would enable Newcastle to sign the players permanently in the summer if Benitez stays on as manager and still wants them.
Sunderland Forward Josh Maja Set to be Sold Soon
This is not Newcastle related, but it is certainly hilarious to check in on how Sunderland is doing in League 1.
Reports surfaced this morning out of France that Sunderland forward Josh Maja would be leaving the club for French side Bordeaux.
Breaking | Bordeaux have concluded a deal to sign English attacker Josh Maja from Sunderland, according to L’Équipe. More follows.— Get French Football News (@GFFN) January 23, 2019
The initial fee reported was about 3.5m, which got fans of multiple clubs in England wondering why they did not go after the second highest goal scorer in League 1 when his fee was so cheap.
Later in the day it was discovered that there were other offers on the table from English clubs, but it seems as if Bordeaux should get this deal done.
Bordeaux confident of landing 20-year-old Sunderland attacker Josh Maja after agreeing a €4m deal; however West Ham & Cardiff City also have bids on the table https://t.co/plC6Hm5qT2— Get French Football News (@GFFN) January 23, 2019
Regardless, it seems as if Sunderland are losing their most promising player, and perhaps their best player this season. Maja has scored 15 goals in League 1 for Sunderland, accounting for over 30% of their goals. The fear among Sunderland fans is that without Maja it will certainly be difficult to achieve automatic promotion out of League 1.
The 20-year-old’s departure was inevitable as he was refusing to sign an extension on his contract, which expires this year. Nonetheless, this gives Sunderland a little over a week to fill a very large goal scoring void.
Other (Somewhat) Relevant Transfer News
Frenkie De Jong is joining Barcelona in the summer.
Rabiot linked to Tottenham switch.
Mauricio Pochettino says Spurs’ injury problems will not alter transfer policy.