Responding to questions from supporters during an Athletic mailbag session, the ever-reliable Chris Waugh has relayed his information in regards to what Newcastle United could spend in the transfer window when it opens in January.
The journalist does reveal there is money available should the club look to strengthen despite the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, though it will only be spent on the ‘right players’ which does indicate an element of cautiousness.
In the New Year sales of 2020, loan signings in the shape of Nabil Bentaleb, Danny Rose and Valentino Lozaro all arrived but did little to convince and did not see their stays on Tyneside extended any further than the end of the campaign.
So, it does seem unlikely Newcastle would be reckless with their cash.
Still, there is one pressing concern in this side. A lack of a competent central midfielder.
None of the Magpies’ current options have amassed a pass completion rate of over 82.5% (Sean Longstaff, via WhoScored) and even Jonjo Shelvey’s 1.2 key passes per game average is amongst the lowest in his record career. Indeed, that lack of control could be part of the reason behind the inability to ensure any kind of consistency under Steve Bruce, with the team usually relying on Karl Darlow in goal to keep them in games before a moment of magic or a stroke of luck from one of the attackers.
If someone could help string the two together in a better fashion than the team are currently doing, surely it’ll help build more of a team unit, even if only marginally.
Will Steve Bruce last the season?
Perhaps signing a new player there wouldn’t fix all of Newcastle’s problems but would certainly address an area only strengthened by the signing of Jeff Hendrick on a free and Bentaleb on loan in the past couple of years.