Newcastle, facing a midfield crisis with Joelinton expected to undergo surgery ruling him out for the season and many other players at the position either injured or suspended (Sandro Tonali), is actively seeking to reinforce its squad with a signing that could bolster the midfield line while having a similar profile to that of the injured Brazilian, reports Chris Waugh of The Athletic.
Manager Eddie Howe, constrained by a limited number of fit players to deploy in the middle of the field and usually naming three starters in his 4-3-3 formation, is in reportedly focused on bringing an “athletic, dynamic midfielder” to St James’ Park.
The club’s priority is to find a player who can complement Bruno Guimaraes in the no. 6 role, per Waugh, and particularly someone capable of moving the ball forward while also boasting chops that allow him to get the ball from NUFC’s defenders carrying it further up the pitch by himself.
All of the above said, Waugh reports that “there’s no certainty” that Newcastle will secure a new midfielder this transfer window because of Newcastle’s financial constraints under FFP and the Premier League’s Profit and Sutainibility rules.
As Waugh points out, it’s worth noting that Newcastle has spent more than £400 million in just a handful of transfer windows comprising fewer than three full seasons, which has the club dangeroiusly close to topping the maximum spending set by the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability rules. Knowing what happened to Everton, which got a 10-point deduction because of an infringement of such rules, the Magpies board is taking things with all of the caution they can muster and the club is a bit reluctant to incur in additional expenditures.
One strategy Newcastle is considering is a loan-to-buy arrangement, which would defer some costs to a later period. That’s because most business are conducted in summer transfer windows, and while this would bring a player to the club now most of the spending would be accounted for in next summer’s tally.
The club has shown interest in Manchester City’s Kalvin Phillips but is reluctant to pay a significant loan fee (reportedly quoted at around £7 million) for a player who has had limited top-flight match starts and may require time to reach peak fitness, limiting the impact he could have during the next few weeks and months in helping Newcastle achieve back-to-back top-4 finishes in the Premier League.
Internally, Newcastle’s recruitment team, led by Steve Nickson, has several players on their radar, reports Waught. Among them are Atalanta’s Ederson and Everton’s Amadou Onana, both of whom have been extensively scouted according to sources. As Newcastle, and most prominently Howe, are looking for “immediate-impact players,” it’s believed that the Magpies will try to land someone that is currently a member of another EPL team, thus making Onana as well as Bournemouth’s Philip Billing and Manchester United’s Scott McTominay the most-likely players to be targeted through January.
In the interim, Newcastle has recalled 21-year-old academy graduate Joe White from Crewe Alexandra, and the younster is expected to be included in upcoming matchday squads, providing some relief to the current midfield shortage, per Waugh. That said, the club doesn’t see him as any sort of instant-solution type of player for the second half of the season, thus the interest in bringing external players—at least one—to bolster the squad ranks.