Before this season even ended, reports claimed Newcastle were hoping to have some transfers completed early in the summer window. The two names that came up were Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer and Wigan forward Kyle Joseph.
Newcastle had been the clear favorites to sign the duo, but other clubs have since come into the fray. Ajer’s representatives have shopped their client around Europe and even met with Bayer Leverkusen a few weekends ago.
The 23-year-old has just one year remaining on his contract and confirmed recently that he expects to leave Celtic this summer. Newcastle were hoping to have the Norwegian in by the start of pre-season for a bargain fee of £6-8m.
As for Joseph, the young striker would be one for the future. With Newcastle releasing Yannick Toure last week, a forward prospect is sorely needed at the Academy. The 19-year-old is out of contract at the end of the month but has been offered a new deal by Wigan.
Newcastle were reportedly willing to pay a little bit extra by way of a compensation fee for Joseph. However, last week it was revealed that Swansea were in talks for the striker and may now be the favorites to land him.
The Chronicle is reporting that Mike Ashley has backed Bruce’s request for early signings. The head coach is hoping for one or two additions before the squad returns for pre-season in early July. It could be that Ajer and Joseph were the two players Bruce had hoped to bring in early with those deals now in jeopardy.
There’s been no shortage of other targets linked to Newcastle with Arsenal defender William Saliba and Leicester midfielder Hamza Choudhury being the latest. The Chronicle also reports that Saliba is under serious consideration as a loan target.
Lee Ryder claims Newcastle have been tracking Saliba’s progress over the past 18 months including his loan spell at Nice during the second half of last season.
The 20-year-old was an Unai Emery signing in 2019 from Saint-Etienne. He remained with the French club for a season-long loan. When he came to Arsenal last summer it was with Mikel Arteta at the helm. The young defender only featured for the U23s before going to Nice on loan in January.
With David Luiz’s contract expiring at the end of the month, that could clear a path for Saliba into the Arsenal first team. However, if Arteta feels he isn’t quite ready, it seems Newcastle could make a loan offer for the Frenchman.