Newcastle United have seen their 2023/24 season derailed slightly – having won just one of their five games and fallen far behind the Premier League top-4 race.
It now seems a LONG time ago that Eddie Howe’s side was celebrating a win over Paris Saint-Germain in return to the UEFA Champions League after a two-decade wait.
Things have gone awry for the Magpies as they have faced the blunt, harsh reality of how tough it can be to compete in multiple competitions at the same time.
They have been eliminated from the Champions League, in rather cruel circumstances after losing their final game and seeing other results go against their way – and are 14 points adrift of the top 4.
At this point of time, the best possible course of action for Newcastle is to hope for a finish in a place that guarantees them European football – which would basically mean a top-7 place in the league and/or win the FA Cup title.
The cruel thing about Newcastle’s situation is that because of the strict Premier League Profit and Sustainability Rules, their rich owners can’t do much to improve the squad in the winter transfer window with new signings either.
The Magpies have remained quiet in January, not being able to get any deal done and even seeing their aspirations to sign Kalvin Phillips on loan go up in smokes after he joined West Ham United instead. With that being said, here are the latest transfer rumours revolving around Newcastle United.
Is Callum Wilson really leaving?
There have been questions raised on the situation involving Callum Wilson, who has been used smartly as an alternative to Alexander Isak this season.
With that being said, there have been reports that have emerged recently stating that the Magpies could be looking to offload the Englishman in January for as low as £18 million to help bring their finances in line with the Premier League’s PSR rules – with the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal linked with him.
Eddie Howe actually gave an interesting assessment of the situation around Wilson, not really confirming his desire to lose the striker but hinting that this is something the club might be forced to do with long-term interests in mind.
He said before the FA Cup game against Fulham: “A lot of speculation and a lot of it is unfounded. From our side, he’s a huge part of what we do. We’re desperate to get our two strikers fit again. He [Wilson] is nearing a return and looks good. He’s getting there. There’s no part of me that wants to lose him. In every conversation, he’s 100 per cent committed.
“No part of him is looking elsewhere. He’s got big ambitions and we want to keep him here. But some things are out of our control. The club is acting with the long-term interests of the club and they have to. Let’s see what happens.”
Alfie Harrison transfer coup
Despite their struggles with financial fair play, Newcastle appear to be able to at least sign quality young player who can be long-term asset for the club. Recently, The Athletic claimed that Newcastle United have agreed a deal with Manchester City to sign their highly-rated young midfielder Alfie Harrison in the winter window.
Harrison, who can play as a no.8 and a no.10, has been in exceptional form for Manchester City’s under-18 side this season – scoring eight goals and providing four assists in 8 U-18 Premier League matches this season. Newcastle appear to have found a quality option and someone who can be a prolific goal-scoring midfielder for them in the near future.
Even though the deal has not been officially announced by either club, Howe has since basically confirmed the transfer and said: “We welcome him into the football club, I wasn’t directly involved in that transfer but we welcome him into the club. He’s a very talented young player and we hope he does really well with us.”
It now seems like a matter of time before Newcastle themselves announce the deal. Harrison has not played for Manchester City’s senior team in his career and his experience is only that of playing for the youth teams so far. However, due to Newcastle’s injury problems in midfield, it might be interesting to see if the young midfielder is fast-tracked into the first-team and handed a role for the rest of the season.
End of the road for Jamaal Lascelles?
Jamaal Lascelles is the current Newcastle United club captain and someone who has been at the club for nearly an entire decade.
The 30-year-old, however, has been used in a rotational role this season and is the back-up to Sven Botman. Lascelles’ current contract expires at the end of this season and there have not been any news of an extension being granted.
Amid all this, a rather bizarre rumours has surfaced that hints at the Englishman’s imminent departure from the Tyneside club.
As per journalist Yagiz Sabuncuoglu, Besiktas have offered a lifeline to Lascelles to join them before the end of the winter transfer window and get more regular playing time with them. The catch, however, is that he is being asked for Newcastle to terminate his contract – which can allow the centre-back to join the Turkish club for free.
With that being said, Newcastle Chronicle’s Lee Ryder has since claimed that Lascelles is actually happy to stay at Newcastle United for the rest of this season – but that ‘things can change very quickly’ before the end of the winter window on February 1.
If Lascelles really wants a move to the Turkish heavyweights, it’s clear that he needs to work quickly to convince the Magpies to reach a compromise for a potential transfer.
The Surprise links to Phillip Billing
Newcastle United might have their hands tied by the FFP limitations, but they are in dire need of reinforcements in the midfield area.
Sandro Tonali is unable to play for the rest of this season after being suspended for breaching betting rules in Italy and Joelinton has also been ruled out for the campaign after sustaining a knee injury in the 3-0 thrashing of Sunderland in the FA Cup.
Amid all this, the Magpies have reportedly found an interest in Bournemouth midfielder Phillip Billing. They are rumoured to be eyeing a move for the Englishman to potentially replace Joelinton amid uncertainty of his future at the club due to uncertainty over his contract extension.
Billing, a physical and proactive midfielder, has been in impressive form for the Cherries this season. He has played in all but one of their Premier League matches, contributing to four goals (two goals, two assists) and being able to operate as an attacking midfielder, defensive midfielder or a no.8. It’s this versatility, physicality and ability to add goals from midfield that has perhaps impressed Eddie Howe.
However, a lot of Newcastle fans seem hugely unimpressed by these links and do not feel that Billing has enough quality or technical prowess to be an ideal replacement for Joelinton. With the days passing quickly before the end of the winter window, this deal could be one to keep an eye on.
The grave reality of Joelinton’s situation
Joelinton has become a huge fan-favourite at Newcastle United since joining the club in 2019, having gone through all the highs and lows with the Magpies.
He even transitioned from the role of a forward to playing as a central midfielder for Newcastle and doing so tremendously well, taking on the new role of an energetic, creative force through the middle.
The Brazilian is currently out of action after having sustained a nasty injury in the derby game against Sunderland and has even had to undergo surgery for the same. However, Joelinton is not exactly showing enough desire or eagerness to sign a new long-term contract with Newcastle United – with his current one set to expire on June, 2025.
Normally, major Premier League clubs like to give extensions to their players before they are able to move into the final year of their contracts because of the threat of them leaving for free once their deals expire.
Eddie Howe gave a rather grim verdict on the reality of Joelinton’s situation, hinting that he might have even played his final game for the Magpies. He said: “He has 18 months left on his contract. As his manager, I’m determined for him to stay. I love him as a person and a player, so that would be my wish, for him to sign a long-term contract.
“But, of course, there’s more to it than that. There’s Joe’s wishes and what he wants. Before he signs a contract he has to be entirely happy with everything. We’re not at that stage yet. I’m not a fortune teller and I certainly hope that is not the case (played his last game). There is a possibility that could be the case, but I don’t know.
“Eighteen months (left on a contract) is a vulnerable time for a club. The club will need to tie Joe down to a longer-term contract or there is a possibility he will be sold in the summer. That is just the reality of the situation.” At this point of time, all Newcastle fans can do is hope that Joelinton makes up his mind on his future and is convinced to spend his next few years with the club.