clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Newcastle fall behind in race for Fresneda

More links tie the right back to an Arsenal move

Atletico de Madrid v Real Valladolid CF - LaLiga Santander Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Following yesterday’s lackluster 0-0 draw to Crystal Palace, the focus now shifts to the Carabao Cup semi-finals which begin this Tuesday against Southampton at St. Mary’s Stadium. With the next Premier League match scheduled for Feb. 4 against West Ham, this would have been a great time to rest some of the starters who are clearly running low on spark as the season pushes into the back nine.

For those looking forward to seeing fresh faces on the field with top outfield-minutes-leader Kieran Trippier and a bruised Bruno Guimaraes cheering from the bench, sadly we will have to wait.

The Daily Mail is among many outlets who indicate that Arsenal has gained the upper hand in the chase for 18-year-old Real Valladolid right-back Ivan Fresneda. Quotes attributed to Arsenal Manager Mikel Arteta directly convincing the youngster to spurn the Magpies have been deemed false, yet his agent has been spotted in London recently and the defender is expected to fly to the English capital this week himself. The Gunners also have the squad depth to sign Fresneda, loan him back to Valladolid immediately, and then recall him from that loan should Ben White get injured.

In a promising twist, London outlet Hammers report that West Ham have already rejected an initial offer for 21-year-old right-back Harrison Ashby. The Scotland U21 international has only made five appearances this season, making him a great fit to learn under Trippier and gain experience in relief or through the remainder of the Carabao Cup. When local outlets and fans express shock and anger at the prospect of losing this caliber of a player, it should signal director Dan Ashworth that he needs to close the deal thorough this window. Manager David Moyes is under pressure right now, so it's never too late to give him funds to upgrade his attack if Ashby heads to SJP next week.

In attack, Joelinton and Miguel Almiron continue to rack up minutes in virtually irreplaceable roles, while Bruno anchors the entire midfield for the Magpies. We haven’t had much of a chance to see Jonjo Shelvey and Bruno work together to lessen that burden, and we may never do. Dele Alli collapsed at Everton and was loaned to Istanbul side Besiktas, which has been a complete disaster this season. The referenced article suggests the Turkish club desire to use the funds from the recent Wout Weghorst transfer to Man United to bolster their midfield with Shelvey, who might actually be seeking more minutes when he returns to action after being left off Eddie Howe's rotation.

To fill this role as an offensive midfieldier, 90Min reports that Newcastle have already had a £14M bid rejected by Flemengo for 18-year-old Matheus Franca. Franca is a highly rated Brazil U20 international who was recruited by Flamengo at the ripe age of 12 and who is held in the same regard as Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior was back in the day. Bayern Leverkusen had a £12M bid rejected earlier, with the youngster under contract until 2027 and Flamengo looking for £16M. With Wood and Shelvey's wages unloaded, this is another signing that makes too much sense to make.

Unless Alexander Isak can get an early goal during the opening half on Tuesday, expect Howe’s regular starters to continue racking up minutes during the first leg as starters or in relief. While we all cross our fingers hoping for all players to avoid injuries, dust-ups, and bookings (Joelinton), Ashworth had better be working to close these deals as the push for Europe continues. Bruno’s anguish last week illustrated what we were all feeling, and the time is now to strengthen the squad.