Steve Bruce stated during his press conference that he expected Newcastle to be linked with around 150 players this summer just like the previous one. As we’ve witnessed over the past few weeks, links to players are not in short supply.
However, this summer is likely to be a far cry from the 2020 version. There’s no ‘imminent takeover’ that basically produced two tiers of targets. While Ashely has pending litigation against the Premier League to revive the Saudi-backed bid, players of the caliber of Edinson Cavani and Philippe Coutinho will probably be left off of this year’s reported wishlists.
Bruce also said on Friday that he would continue to bang down conduit Lee Charnley’s door to get as large of a budget as possible from owner Mike Ashley. We may have an early glimpse as to what that budget is if a report in The Mail is accurate.
Kristoffer Ajer– Newcastle trying to advance deal?
According to Simon Jones, Bruce will be handed £12m plus whatever he can raise from player sales. That amount would rule out a permanent move for Arsenal’s Joe Willock, who has been so integral to this team’s recent success. However, a second loan spell could still be on the cards for the 21-year-old.
The Mail is also reporting that Leicester City’s Hamza Choudhury is back under consideration after a loan move for the bruising midfielder was rebuffed in January. The Foxes are expected to sign Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare this summer which could open the exit door for Choudhury, who started only 4 league matches this season.
Jones believes that Newcastle are first looking to advance deals for Celtic center-back Kristoffer Ajer and Wigan striker Kyle Joseph. Ajer is entering the final year of his contract and could be had for £8m while the 19-year-old Jospeh would only cost a compensation fee as he is out of contract this summer.
Signing Ajer and Joseph would take up the bulk of the reported £12m. So unless Ashley grew more generous, or we sell a top player, Bruce would be left to scour the free agent and loan markets for further improvements.