Newcastle United head into the winter transfer window in danger of relegation, but they have one huge advantage over their fellow strugglers.
Whilst Norwich, Burnley, Watford and Southampton will have to fight at one level of the transfer market, Newcastle have been given the green light to spend big. They’ll be hoping to get out of trouble by targeting Manchester United and England star Jesse Lingard, according to The Guardian.
The 28-year-old had a successful spell with West Ham United last season and returned to Old Trafford, intent on forcing his way back into the team. That hasn’t happened; he’s failed to start a single game for the Red Devils, and that’s put Eddie Howe on alert. Howe took over from the beleaguered Steve Bruce shortly after the Magpies takeover and sees Lingard as the perfect personality to boost the flagging attack he inherited, with just one win in their opening 16 games.
Bwin Sports outlines how Newcastle’s takeover has meant they now have a sizable transfer kitty, and it has become the biggest story in football in the latter part of the year. A Saudi investment group took over from despised former owner Mike Ashley, sparking hope of a transfer spree that will see them elevated to European contenders. Firstly, they’ll have to dig themselves out of the mire, and with 222 Manchester United appearances to his name, Lingard has the experience and ability to help them achieve that goal.
Lingard scored nine goals in 16 matches for West Ham in a hugely successful spell last season, and they’re also thought to be keen on acquiring his services. He certainly enjoyed his time in London, and they’re likely to be front runners for his signature. Despite not starting for Man Utd, he has appeared eight times for England this season, bagging twice as they brushed aside Andorra 4-0 in September. However, as he gets old, it appears his career in Manchester is over, and he now must pick the right destination to ensure he is in contention for his country’s squad at Qatar 2022.
Elsewhere, Howe is also keen on signing Lille defender Sven Botman, currently with French side Lille. The Magpies shipped more goals in their first 16 matches than any other Premier League side (34), and stopping the rot is Howe’s number one priority. Botman is a 21-year-old Dutch defender who is rumoured to be valued by his club at €46m. Newcastle’s valuation is some way short of around €35m, and that isn’t the only stumbling block. Lille are in the last 16 of the Champions League and are due to face Chelsea in late February; by then, the transfer window will be closed and Botman unable to move.
Given the young defender’s talents, there are other clubs on the hunt as well. Milan are looking for a replacement for Simon Kjær, who has suffered a long term injury, and whilst they have the stature to make the signing, the recently-rich Newcastle United could out-spend them.
Whatever happens over the next six or eight weeks, Newcastle United should be significantly stronger, perhaps too much for those clubs they’re embroiled in a relegation battle with. From there, their money and newfound buying power should see them become a major player in European football.