Newcastle United are looking to sign four players this summer – though Steve Bruce has a tight budget to work with.
The Magpies are looking to bolster their squad ahead of the 2021/22 season after an underwhelming campaign which saw them flirt with relegation for the majority of the season until a strong finish over the last five games lifted them to 12th.
Owner Mike Ashley is still hoping to sell the club in a protracted deal to consortium headed up by PCP Capital Partners, with legal action against the Premier League under way.
Any deal is unlikely to be resolved soon, however, and Magpies boss Bruce is cracking on with strengthening his squad ahead of the season-opener against West Ham United on 15th August.
Arsenal midfielder Joe Willock is his No 1 target after the youngster’s stunning performances on loan at the end of last season. Willock scored in seven successive games to propel United up the table, and Bruce wants to bring the 21-year-old back to St James’s Park.
Willock’s great form, however, inflated his transfer value and Newcastle may have to be content with another loan move, this time a season-long deal. Arsenal value Willock at £20million which is believed to be out of Newcastle’s budget, with some reports claiming Ashley has only given Bruce £10million to spend this summer as he tightens his belt further in the aftermath of Covid and ahead of a potential takeover.
The Shields Gazette claims that Newcastle have got flights set up to bring Willock to Tyneside this weekend if Arsenal agree to let the player rejoin the club. Gunners boss Mikel Arteta claimed Willock missed their friendly against Hibernian on Tuesday because of a slight groin strain, and it remains to be seen whether he will be included in their squad to play Rangers on Saturday, before Arsenal jet out to the USA for more pre-season games.
Willock’s signing would be a big boost for Bruce, who is also looking at adding three more players to his squad this summer – including two permanent signings. One of those could be Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer, who has a year left on his contract and has been rated at £10million, while former loanee Jetro Willems, now out of contract, is an option at left-back.
Another player who had a loan spell at Newcastle under Bruce, Valentino Lazaro, has also been linked with a return to St James’s Park while Bruce may want to add more firepower to his squad to support Callum Wilson, though Dwight Gayle has signed a new contract with the Magpies.
Newcastle also handed new deals to centre-half Federico Fernandez and wide player Jacob Murphy last week, as well as triggering contract extensions for defensive duo Fabian Schar and Paul Dummett.
Another potential loan move could be for Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher who impressed at West Bromwich Albion last season despite the Baggies’ relegation to the Championship.