Recent reports have Steve Bruce wanting to add a midfielder this month. Though one who will improve the squad and be available on loan will be hard to come by. But the midfield, as well the backline, seem to be the areas of focus for this window.
Bruce recently rubbished claims that Newcastle were after Bournemouth forward Josh King saying he felt his squad had enough at the top end of the pitch.
Ever since Arsenal defender Rob Holding’s loan move broke down in the summer, Newcastle have been linked with plenty of defenders. Newcastle have plenty of bodies at the back, with the exception of left-back, but injuries have plagued Newcastle’s defenders ever since Bruce’s arrival two years ago.
Newcastle had a bid accepted for Lille’s Boubakary Soumare last January. The midfielder turned us down opting to stay with the resurgent Lille, who continue to do very in Ligue 1 under manager Christophe Galtier, once touted as an Alan Pardew replacement.
Bruce’s desire to add another midfielder has not wavered since last January. We brought in Nabil Bentaleb on loan, which turned out to just be padding the numbers with Bentaleb not proving to be an improvement. He also kept Matty Longstaff out of the squad.
That would acceptable if Bruce could add some real quality to the midfield which Newcastle are unlikely to find scouring the loan market. With funds limited this month, strengthening the midfield is going to be a hard task.
Football Insider is claiming that Newcastle are one of three Premier League clubs, Sheffield United and Crystal Palace are the two others, interested in Huddersfield midfielder Lewis O’Brien (pictured above). The 22-year-old is a promising young player who could be available this month with just 18 months left on his contract.
O’Brien is a Huddersfield Academy product with 58 first-team appearances for the Terriers. He also spent a season on loan with Bradford City 2 years ago before breaking in the Huddersfield first-team last season.
His skillset would add to what Newcastle lack in the midfield. He can drive the team forward, create, and is absolutely tenacious off the ball. He’s also got some versatility in that he can cover on the left-wing.
While he’s not the powerhouse type of midfielder like Soumare, he’s a player on the rise. O’Brien is likely not the answer to Newcastle’s problems this season, though he seems a very good young prospect who could be one to watch for the future.