Newcastle’s uncertain future has impeded their summer recruitment plans according to recent reports. But what is becoming quite clear is that there will be very limited transfer funds available in the summer window which will come as no surprise to anyone.
This season has seen no fans attend St. James’ Park as Newcastle have had to issue refunds to season ticket holders. The summer transfer budget is where the bulk of that lost revenue will be felt.
Newcastle will have to get creative to strengthen the squad this summer should they beat the drop. However, if it’s another relegation, we’d expect a fire sale as many top earners don’t have relegation clauses in their contracts.
The Chronicle is reporting that Newcastle’s tentative preparations for this summer heavily involve players who will be out of contract. They’ve drawn up a list of four potential targets, a couple of which Newcastle fans are very familiar with.
In Mark Douglas’s report, he names former Magpies Jetro Willems and Andros Townsend as summer targets. Jetro’s story is well known to Newcastle fans. The 27-year-old would likely be a Magpie now if not for the knee injury he suffered in January of last year.
Steve Bruce opted against bringing in the left-back this January as he hadn’t played since his injury. That remains the case as Jetro has still yet to play for Frankfurt this season. He turned down a contract extension so will become a free agent this summer.
Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend is in the final year of the contract he signed when he unceremoniously departed Newcastle after our last relegation in 2016. He made 13 appearances with 4 goals and 2 assists in his half-season on Tyneside.
Sheffield United midfielder John Lundstram has rejected all contract offers and is set to become a free agent this summer. The 27-year-old has started 21 games for the bottom of the table Blades after a very good 2019-20 season in which he scored 5 goals.
Finally, West Brom center-back Kyle Bartley was identified as another pending free agent target. However, this makes little sense as he’s 29 and Newcastle need an injection of youth at the position. Incidentally, West Brom narrowed their deficit to Newcastle to just 7 points with a 5-2 win at Chelsea this afternoon.
While we’d welcome Jetro Willems back with open arms, we’re not sure how much the other three would really strengthen this squad should we survive. Newcastle may be better served to try to offload some players and going for Celtic’s Kristoffer Ajer.