Just before our season finale at Fulham, there were reports that Newcastle had identified two targets to get done and dusted early in the window. There were Celtic’s Kristoffer Ajer and Wigan youngster Kyle Joseph.
Newcastle had been linked with the duo for weeks and appeared to be in pole position for their signings. Ajer, a 23-year-old center-back entering the final year of his contract, could be had for half his value with Newcastle being long admirers. Joseph is a promising young striker who would only cost a compensation fee.
Earlier this week, the news remained quite positive on the duo. In fact, a report claimed Ajer would become our first signing once the window opened with Newcastle having agreed on a £6m deal. Local reports had Newcastle still in the driver’s seat for Joseph.
However, what a difference a couple of days makes. Ajer’s representatives have been shopping their client to other clubs around Europe and met with Bayer Leverkusen over the weekend.
The Northern Echo is reporting that Leverkusen are growing increasingly confident they’ll win the race for the 6’6″ defender. They have recent experience with Celtic as they signed right-back Jeremie Frimpong in January.
Wales Online is reporting that Swansea are now in advanced talks with Wigan over Kyle Joseph, who is out of contract at the end of the month. The young striker has been offered a new deal but looks to be on his way this summer.
Newcastle have been linked with the Scotland U21 international for months. We were reportedly willing to pay a little extra in compensation to ensure the lad comes to St. James’ Park. However, it could be Swansea who end up landing the 19-year-old.
Swansea see the youngster as one who can develop into a first-team player. Newcastle have similar aspirations for the teenager, who will turn 20 in September. With the Academy being gutted earlier this week, the Magpies really need to be adding youth prospects. That is especially the case at the top end of the pitch.
If these latest claims are accurate, then Newcastle may have lost out on two of our top targets. What compounds the frustration is that they were identified as quick deals to be completed early in the window.