Speaking on the True Faith Podcast, Luke Edwards revealed that Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce wanted to sign Ross Barkley on loan during the most recent transfer window.
“I know behind the scenes he still wanted a centre-back, and he still wanted a central midfielder, a box-to-box driving central midfielder,” he said (via This Is Futbol.)
“He wanted Ross Barkley, and he believed he could have got Ross Barkley, but he was told there was no money to do it.”
The England international joined Aston Villa with little time left of the window and has since seriously impressed, scoring twice and laying on a further assist while outplaying most of the Toon’s midfield options. In fact, not one midfield player in black and white can match his 2.9 shot per game average (via WhoScored) or his 83.2% pass completion rate.
In terms of key passes, his average of 2.5 is way above the highest of a Toon central midfielder which stands at 1.3 from Jonjo Shelvey.
I’ve previously lamented the lack of a dynamic central midfield option, something Barkley would surely have addressed. The attacking thrust he’s offered Villa this season would be a significant improvement on the current lot, offering the strikers a much better link from deeper roles.
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Given the amount of deadwood clogging up the books at St. James’ Park – previously reported to be costing them £5m – it’s barely much of a surprise to hear there was little money left.
With lots of players out of contract in 2021, hopefully Newcastle don’t miss out on this kind of deal again.
In other news, Danny Murphy has actually said something positive about Newcastle! Check it out here.