Newcastle have a bit of a glut in the midfield at the moment which has kept Joe Willock out of the starting eleven over the past four matches. Though the 21-year-old has maximized his impact off the bench with three late goals in his three substitute appearances.
Despite Steve Bruce fielding three midfielders in a 5-3-2, the battle for places remains intense. In addition to Willock, Bruce also has Jeff Hendrick and Matty Longstaff as options. Though Hendrick hasn’t played much recently while Matty Longstaff continues to be left out of matchday squads
Bruce has already expressed his desire to bring Willock back next season, which should be one of our top priorities this summer. It also appears that Celtic center-back Kristoffer Ajer is a top target with recent claims that an £8m offer is being prepared.
The Guardian has just published a report that Newcastle are potentially interested in Southampton midfielder Mario Lemina, who is currently on loan with an option to buy at Fulham.
The Cottagers are in dire straights. They are 7 points from safety with just 5 matches remaining so taking up their purchase option on Lemina is doubtful at the moment. They’ll need to pick up a few wins down the stretch, something they have had massive difficulty accomplishing all season.
The report claims the Gabon international will be available for £7m should he return to Southampton. West Ham are also said to be interested in the 27-year-old who hasn’t played for the Saints in two seasons despite being a record signing in 2017 from Juventus.
Transfer funds are likely to be limited at Newcastle for the next few windows. So we’ll have to spend very wisely. Lemina would be a solid addition to the midfield and good business at £7m under normal circumstances.
However, the financial impact of the pandemic has decimated the transfer budget. So if Willock returns next season, then shelling out cash for a midfielder who turns 28 in September may not make sense for Newcastle this summer.