Newcastle are set to miss out on Wigan Athletic’s Nick Powell, as TEAMtalk understand the soon-to-be free agent is close to joining Stoke City.
Powell was one of the few stand out players for the Latics in their recent Championship campaign, as Paul Cook oversaw a 13-win season that left the DW Stadium natives fighting relegation until the climax of the 45th matchday of a 48 game calendar.
Goals were a particular concern for Cook’s side, with no player managing to individually break double figures. Powell, though, finished the campaign as Wigan’s joint-top ‘scorer in the league with eight, and was credited with seven assists by the time the term drew to a close – the highest goal involvement rate of any Latics player.
The 25-year-old’s seven assists also came from 30 key passes in 32 appearances, predominantly as his side’s attacking midfielder, although Cook tasked the Crewe Alexandre product with his side’s striker duties on six occasions and once on the right-wing.
Powell, however, will become a free agent for the second time in his career when his Wigan contract expires on June 30, despite the Latics holding discussions with the former England youth international over an extension for the past year.
As many as nine teams are thought to have approached the former Manchester United player over a potential summer switch, with the Premier League represented by Brighton, Burnley, and us, and the Football League represented by Sheffield Wednesday, Derby County, Blackburn Rovers, Middlesbrough and Stoke.
Celtic also put forward their case, as per TEAMtalk, but it is the Potters who appear to have won the race, with club chief Nathan Hughes thought to have identified the 6ft midfielder as a crucial piece in his promotion-chasing jigsaw.
Given his versatility and goal involvement at Wigan, Powell could have been a surprisingly solid replacement for Ayoze Perez, if the Spaniard is to leave us this summer amid reports linking the 25-year-old with a move to North London sides Arsenal and Tottenham, as well as Serie A outfit Napoli.
Being a free transfer, as well, we would not have had to break the bank to replace Perez with Powell, so any funds raised from the CD Tenerife product’s exit could going toward strengthening other positions, with our backline often being touted as a zone for improvement.