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Opinion

Jonjo Shelvey and Isaac Hayden sacrificed for Newcastle United to buy Joe Willock?

2 months ago
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A remarkable end to the season for Joe Willock.

Going from squad player at Arsenal and making only two Premier League starts in the first five months of the 2020/21 season, to then seven PL starts at Newcastle United until Steve Bruce bizarrely made him the scapegoat and dropped the loan player after the 3-0 defeat at Brighton.

For a 21 year old player to be treated like that, he could have easily downed tools and told Steve Bruce where to stick it.

Instead, we saw a remarkable sequence of games where three times in a row Joe Willock came off the bench to dig Bruce out of the sh….ambles the head coach had created.

The Willock late late goals preventing defeats against both Tottenham and Liverpool, whilst Steve Bruce’s astonishingly negative tactics had turned a 2-0 lead against 10 men West Ham into clinging on for a 2-2 draw, only for Joe Willock to save the day and instead a valuable three points for Newcastle.

Joe Willock, game changer and match winner / saver.

It is now summer and a chance for Newcastle fans to relax…if only!

Normal clubs would have acted instantly once Joe Willock started to show what he can do, Newcastle should have been instantly in touch with Arsenal and trying to get a permanent deal done after the third or fourth goal, definitely the fifth, certain the sixth, as for the seventh and eighth…

The eight goals that Joe Willock scored, directly led to helping Newcastle United pick up seventeen points in those matches.

Whilst Mike Ashley, Lee Charnley and Steve Bruce have done nothing so far to try and sign Joe Willock permanently, now they have to do everything they can to make it happen.

As Newcastle fans we live in the real world and under Mike Ashley we have long had to accept that he won’t change his ways.

I don’t think there is any chance of the budget being made available to buy Joe Willock, so the money will have to be generated by sales.

For my money, the answer is obvious.

In five and a half years at Newcastle United, Jonjo Shelvey has managed nine Premier League goals and twelve assists in that time.

For Isaac Hayden, these past five years have seen three Premier League goals and six assists.

Between them this season, Shelvey and Hayden have managed one Premier League goal and three assists, they have come from a combined 54 PL appearances this season.

I think Shelvey and Hayden have done ok for Newcastle in their time on Tyneside, up to a point.

However, I do think that the time has come for NUFC to play a different way and neither player fits the bill.

They both slow the game down and don’t get in and around the opposition box, neither is good at running with the ball or being part of swift passing movements to get the ball up the pitch. Which is for me how Newcastle need to play if enough chances are to be created and goals scored.

I think there is a decent chance that Newcastle could raise maybe £20m or so for the two of them, money which could then be put into a proper £25m / £30m offer for Joe Willock.

Maybe the three promoted clubs or the usual struggles (Burnley, Brighton, Palace etc) will see Hayden and / or Shelvey as half decent signings.

If Newcastle were / are serious about signing Joe Willock then surely it would mean selling at least one of them anyway.

We need to have pace/ mobility on the pitch, especially up front and in midfield, Hayden isn’t really that type of player and obviously not Shelvey either.

Get Joe Willock in and along with ASM, Almiron, Fraser, Wilson etc we have players who can get up and down the pitch and do a high press, lets play in the opposition half as much as possible.

Give the Longstaff brothers a chance and Elliot Anderson potentially as well, other clubs give promising young players their chance, why not Newcastle United.

Whilst he offers absolutely nothing going forward, we also have the option of playing Jeff Hendrick, if you simply want a negative defensive central midfielder who will do a job, sit in and give the ball to other players.

To go with the current squad and Head Coach into next season is a massive risk.

The only attacking plan to give ASM the ball and hope Callum Wilson scores a lot of goals from very few chances (he scored 12 from only 49 shots this past season).

I don’t think we can afford to any longer carry people like Shelvey and Hayden in terms of how little they give the team in the attacking third. It puts far too much pressure on other players to create and score all the goals.

Joe Willock can be our game / style changer and time for the old guard to move on.

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