In the week leading to the start of the World Cup, there was a report from The Telegraph’s Luke Edwards that Newcastle’s sudden surge up the Premier League table would not alter their approach to the winter window.
The report maintained that Newcastle would focus on adding strength in depth and only pursue a marquee signing should one of their top targets become available; generally a remote prospect in January.
However, Edwards did state that one position remains a priority to solidify. Eddie Howe and company will look to add a young right-back in the winter window to provide add cover for Kieran Trippier, who is currently getting plenty of action in this World Cup.
There are two clear favorites to end up at St. James’ Park as Trippier’s heir apparent – Leeds’ Cody Drameh and West Ham’s Harrison Ashby. Both are enduring difficult times at their current clubs and are expected to be jettisoned in January.
Ashby was a summer target with a deadline day move blocked by Hammers boss David Moyes. The right-back has made just three appearances this term and with his contract running out next month, has firmly rejected extending his West Ham stay.
The Scotland U21 international is almost certain to be available for a modest fee as West Ham will want something for their academy product rather than allowing him to leave for nothing in the summer. Newcastle’s interest appears likely to transcend to the winter.
Drameh’s situation at Elland Road has been similarly frustrating with first-team opportunities hard to come by. After a superb loan spell with Cardiff, the soon-to-be 21-year-old entered the summer with hopes of increased chances under Jesse Marsch.
However, his situation has deteriorated and he’s not made a matchday squad since making his lone start in the 5-2 defeat at Brentford in early September. He has since been demoted to playing with the U21s.
The Yorkshire Evening Post is reporting that Leeds will entertain offers for Drameh with Newcastle reportedly in contact with his representatives. His contract will have just 18 months left to run when the winter window opens.
It appears that Newcastle could have their pick of Ashby or Drameh, who’ll both be 21 when the window opens. With Howe short at right-back due to Emil Krafth’s knee injury and only Javier Manquillo in reserve, either would be a welcome addition to the ranks.