Newcastle have still yet to make a first-team addition with just over three weeks left in the season. In fact, we are currently a diminished entity from the last campaign with Joe Willock’s return to Arsenal.
There have been recent claims that Newcastle are confident of landing the 21-year-old midfielder back on loan at some point this summer. The latest update comes from Sky Sports journalist Keith Downie who tweeted the following on Thursday.
Newcastle hoping their move for Joe Willock can be accelerated after Emile Smith-Rowe signed a new contract at Arsenal. Steve Bruce said on Saturday he’s “badgering away” at Arsenal over the free-scoring midfielder #NUFC
— Keith Downie (@SkySports_Keith) July 22, 2021
However, as Steve Bruce re-iterated after the friendly on Sunday, the ball is in Arsenal’s court. No matter how hopeful Newcastle are, the matter is almost entirely out of their hands.
Bruce has moved on to other targets while Arsenal decide on Willock’s future. Newcastle have reportedly been in discussions over three transfer targets this past week. All are midfielders as Bruce has stated the position is depleted.
Midtjylland’s Jens Cajuste is a 21-year-old Swedish international but could cost upwards of £13m. The defensive midfielder is in demand and Bruce’s reported budget doesn’t suggest a deal can be made without more financial backing from Mike Ashley.
Newcastle have spent much of this past week in talks for Mario Lemina. It seems to have been a colossal waste of time as he has jetted off to France to complete a deal with Nice. The fee has been reported to be anywhere from £3.5m (The Mail) to £4.7m (The Athletic).
What really stings is the Gabon international was really rated by our scouting team and could have been brought in before pre-season started if Mike Ashley had sanctioned the move. Even the high end of £4.7m would have been a bargain for the experienced midfielder.
Newcastle have also been in discussions over a loan move for Conor Gallagher. The 21-year-old was a target last summer before landing at West Brom. He’s more of an attacking presence than Cajuste or Lemina and would be a very good addition.
The Northern Echo is reporting that Ross Barkley has now emerged as a serious option for the midfield. Like with our other targets, we face stiff competition as Everton, West Ham, and AC Milan are also in pursuit.
There were reports last year that Newcastle were after the 27-year-old but he ultimately went on loan to Aston Villa. This time around, Chelsea have slapped a £12m price tag on the former England international in the hopes of offloading him this summer.
The roulette wheel of targets continues to spin round and round. Before pre-season, it was defensive targets gaining the bulk of attention but now Newcastle seem focused on adding a couple of midfielders.
There needs to be a breakthrough sooner rather than later. The start of this campaign is fast approaching and Newcastle United are falling behind the rest of the pack.