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Opinion

Matty Longstaff vs Jack Colback vs Jeff Hendrick

1 month ago
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Well lads and lasses, the 2020 summer transfer window is open and business is in full swing at Newcastle United. Can’t you just smell the excitement?

Nope, thought not. Quite the opposite as per usual.

How much will be spent on new recruits is anyone’s guess and I’m fully expecting The Mag to run a poll in the coming days to ask fans how much they think will be spent this summer.

It will be the bare minimum and will likely include a current player going for big money and even then only a proportion of that will be re-invested back into the team. It’s not so much a prediction, moreover it’s the actual Mike Ashley transfer policy as we’ve seen it all before many times.

A more worrying problem is that (as yet) I haven’t read in the local rag that there is a transfer summit looming between owner, chairman and head coach. Although maybe I shouldn’t be worried, it’s standard practice at this club to leave such trivialities until a week or so before the window actually shuts. It’s almost an inconsequential matter trying to identify which positions need buying for – as that doesn’t seem to be a consideration, more an afterthought in the Mike Ashley scattergun approach to building a team.

I bet if you poll fans on the matter of which position needs strengthening most, the words “Striker” and “Goalscorer” will be universally mentioned. Put simply, whilst other areas need looking at, getting someone who can at least hit double figures in terms of goals is the only position to buy for. No surprises that we’re being linked with midfielders then.

On that subject, Matty Longstaff’s contract has now officially expired and I’m of the personal belief that he was sitting it out and waiting to see if the takeover went ahead before committing himself to both a club and manager with no hope of moving the player forward in terms of personal development. Steve Bruce may point to the fact that he gave Matty his debut but no one will be able to convince me that Bruce or Newcastle United can develop such a prospect into a good Premier League player. I hope he goes away and does well and wish him all the best.

Another north-east born player whose contract expired this summer (who coincidentally plays in Longstaff’s exact position) is Jack Colback. Now Jack’s time at Newcastle was a complete waste of time and money. Despite being signed from the mackems on a free, the deal can hardly be classed as value for money, with the player on £40k+ a week, that’s over £12m for the duration of his contract (minus what Nottingham Forrest may have paid towards wages for his loan spells in 2018 and 2019).

This week, Newcastle have been linked with another midfielder in Jeff Hendrick (aged 28), presumably to fill the void left by both Colback (30) and Longstaff (20). Hendrick’s contract expired at Burnley this summer and wouldn’t it be typical of this regime to bin off a young player that grew up in the region and that showed glimpses of what he could do often in a poor side, to get a player in with no better record or guarantee of similar success.

Jeff Hendrick’s best season in the Premier League is three goals, while even Jack Colback can best him with four. Now Matty Longstaff has two goals this season (both stunning strikes against Manchester United no less) in a mere six starts and three sub appearances, so we are losing the better of the three players in my opinion.

There wasn’t much of a problem in midfield last season in my opinion and with Jonjo Shelvey, Isaac Hayden and both Longstaff brothers we had a healthy mix. Improving on what we have is always a good thing but is Jeff Hendrick REALLY a forward step? Absolutely not. You also have to ask the question as to why Burnley have let him go. If they were to go and nab Matty Longstaff they will have upgraded a player for free with a nice piece of business.

Along with the deal to bring Mark Gillespie in, it merely smacks of a player being available for free, ‘easy’ to get over the line and a no-brainer for Mike Ashley’s financial blueprint, with the assistance of Steve Bruce and Lee Charnley’s negotiation skills.

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