Newcastle are one of a handful of Premier League clubs yet to make any first-team signings. Though a few of the others have significantly higher budgets with Chelsea, Everton, Manchester City, and Tottenham all yet to announce any signings.
Most of the clubs outside the aforementioned quartet have strengthened with some significant additions. Brentford and West Ham are the only other clubs outside the traditional top six yet to spend to make a signing close to or exceeding Steve Bruce’s £10m budget. The Bees could be adding Celtic’s Kristoffer Ajer very soon.
Newcastle’s most realistic links at the moment are for domestic loans. We are engaged in talks for Arsenal’s Joe Willock and Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher. When asked about additions after yesterday’s friendly at York City, Steve Bruce admitted nothing was particularly close to getting done.
This is what Bruce’s response on the transfer market as published in The Chronicle:
“We’ve got one or two things bubbling away.
“Obviously with Joe, it’s in Arsenal’s court and we cannot dictate to Arsenal.
“We’ve got one or two others bubbling away. I know for a fact it’s going to be very, very slow in terms of the transfer market.
“I knew it was going to be with the European Championships and COVID affecting everybody.
“It’s difficult for everybody at the moment.
“So there’ll be a bit of work to be done, we’ve got one or two things bubbling but nothing really imminent.”
It’s difficult for Newcastle, that’s for certain. However, when you look at the current expenditures of Brighton (£18m), Crystal Palace (£21m), Leeds (£26m), and Leicester (£40m) it starts to get a little worrying as most clubs appear to have money to spend.
The success of this window largely lies with Joe Willock’s return. Adding Willock, another loanee, and a permanent signing for around £10m isn’t necessarily enough to ease tensions but it’ll be better than nothing.
Earlier today Arsenal announced the signing of Anderlecht’s Sambi Lokonga, finally getting him over the line. The 21-year-old will add some competition for Willock in Arsenal’s midfield.
As for Newcastle, Bruce has identified the midfield as a problem area. He feels he is very short there at the moment. Jonjo Shelvey is out injured with a calf problem while Elliot Anderson is nursing a sore hip. Both are in a race to be ready for the start of the season.
This is what Bruce said about his midfield yesterday:
“We’re very, very short in the middle of the park at the minute. Very, very short.
“It’s something we need to address.”
During yesterday’s friendly both Ryan Fraser and Matt Ritchie spent time in the middle of the pitch. Currently, Bruce only has Isaac Hayden, Jeff Hendrick, Matty Longstaff, and Sean Longstaff fit and available. Miguel Almiron should soon be back in the fold after getting a period of rest.
It could be that Bruce funnels his funds to the midfield rather than a young center-back. There’s plenty of cover in defense at the moment with Kelland Watts impressing in yesterday’s friendly.