Yesterday, Steve Bruce revealed that strengthening the attack was not a priority during this transfer window. He was asked about links with Bournemouth’s Josh King when he said he said he felt Newcastle were ‘okay in that area’.
While Newcastle have been linked with a few forwards, the majority of our reported targets seem to be at the back of the pitch. Though it now seems increasingly likely that a couple of them, Chelsea’s Fikayo Tomori and Man United’s Brandon Williams, will not be allowed to leave this month.
Over the summer, Newcastle were in talks with Arsenal over a year-long loan for defender Rob Holding. In fact, some reported that the deal was practically all tied up. However, Mikel Arteta pulled the plug and kept Holding at the Emirates.
That decision has turned out well for the 25-year-old as he’s already matched last season’s total of 18 appearances. However, this time he’s a regular who starts the majority of Arsenal’s matches.
Newcastle were unable to find another recruit after Holding’s deal fell apart. We’ve struggled at times keeping our backline intact with so many injuries and also the Covid outbreak impacting a lot of our defenders.
With all this in mind, Steve Bruce was asked yesterday about Florian Lejeune, who is playing very well on loan with Alaves. This is what Bruce said about a possible recall for the Frenchman as published in The Chronicle:
“The purpose of it was to go and play. He’s playing week in, week out so I’m led to believe.
“Of course, we’re kept updated on him. It would be nice for Shola, our loans manager, to go and see him but with the problems…the feedback is he’s doing OK.
“He’s fit and he’s healthy, which is the most important thing, so I think it’s important that the kid still plays games.”
Lejeune has impressed in Spain so far. He is a key member of the Alaves squad already making 16 starts this year. He’s closing in on surpassing the 22 total appearances he’s had the previous two injury-riddled seasons on Tyneside.
The important thing, as Bruce states, is that Florian continues to play after two serious knee injuries ruled him out for much of the last two years. He also seems well suited to the Spanish game and has vast experience in La Liga with his time at Eibar.
So it may be best to not interrupt Lejeune’s loan spell by bringing him back to Newcastle this month. He’ll have one year remaining on his contract this summer and his future can be sorted out after what will hopefully be a full season of football with Alaves.