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Newcastle United ‘plan’ to sell players to fund Joe Willock purchase has major flaw

3 weeks ago
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Joe Willock is top of pretty much every Newcastle fan’s list as a permanent signing this summer.

The Arsenal loan star clearly enjoying his time on Tyneside and producing an explosion of goals in the final weeks of the season.

Joe Willock scoring in all of his last seven Premier League appearances of the season, his final total of eight goals scored in only eleven starts and three sub appearances.

Obviously there are all kinds of dream signings Newcastle fans would come up with if money was no object and the club ran with ambition. However, there is a feeling that Joe Willock could potentially be persuaded to still sign for Newcastle, even under current (Ashley and Bruce) operating conditions.

Despite what they are saying about retaining Joe Willock, the reality is that Arsenal have other promising midfielders and have already identified transfer targets. The Gunners set to take advantage of Willock’s goals in terms of getting a higher selling price than previously expected, whilst the player needs regular football.

The biggest obstacle in the minds of most Newcastle fans, is Mike Ashley willing to allow a realistic bid to go in to buy Joe Willock.

In order to fund such a deal, one of the newspapers at the weekend came up with a list of players Newcastle United could / would be willing to sell, in order to help fund a Joe Willock signing of £25m or more.

I have regularly seen this kind of thing in the past and the latest list is as fatally flawed as pretty much every other list of Newcastle United players who could be sold to help buy…

The five players listed in this latest report, were Javier Manquillo, Karl Darlow, Yoshinori Muto, Matt Ritchie and Florian Lejeune.

The fatal flaw as always, is that you are looking at other clubs taking players that you don’t want and other Premier League clubs don’t want either, rather than the ones that you do want to keep and that other PL clubs would / might want.

It is not that I don’t rate any of these five at all, it is simply the case that no PL club would sign any of them as a first choice starter, so where exactly would they go to and how would that generate significant funds to help buy Joe Willock?

To move Muto out would actually probably cut the transfer budget, as no other club is going to pay money for him and you would have to pay a lump sum to the player in order for him to accept lower wages elsewhere.

We know Florian Lejeune is a canny player but he is 30 years old and has had two serious injuries. A decent spell in La Liga has proved his fitness but I think he is far more valuable to us as one of the set of centre-backs, rather than maybe getting one or two million for him.

Similar with Manquillo as well, he is still the best right back at NUFC even if Murphy is the best right wing back, if he stays. Manquillo is more of an asset to Newcastle as a squad player than getting maybe a million or two potentially from one of the smaller La Liga clubs, same situation as Lejeune.

Matt Ritchie turns 32 in September and it would be a Championship club if he moved on, I can’t see anybody paying much of a transfer fee as they need to meet his NUFC wages. Plus Ritchie ended the season as first choice again, so for a pittance of a transfer fee why sell?

The story continues with Darlow, ideal as a PL back up keeper but will never be a first choice in the top tier, he would go to a Championship club and having passed 30 won’t be generating significant funds as other clubs know his strengths and weaknesses by this stage of his career.

I would actually suggest three other players who could be sold AND would potentially raise the kind of money that could help fund a Joe Willock signing.

I think selling Jonjo Shelvey and Isaac Hayden would make sense, especially if Joe Willock would be coming in.

I’m no Shelvey fan and he is 29 and just going to get even less mobile BUT this is a last chance I think where some lower Premier League club would still pay £10m+ I reckon. Same with Isaac Hayden. Hayden is decent and is popular with fans but if we’re honest he is also a reason why Newcastle have so little creativity and mobility in midfield. I think Sean Longstaff can do a perfectly decent job if partnering Joe Willock, with brother Matty as back up, even Hendrick if you do want a negative midfield player just sitting in. Obviously ideally, for me anyway, the perfect scenario would be selling Hayden and Shelvey then bringing in Joe Willock AND another central midfielder, with the Longstaffs as back up.

Another player I would think about selling to raise funds is Jamaal Lascelles. He also could possibly raise £10m-£15m if sold now and I think Fernandez is our best centre-back anyway, then plenty of options alongside him, with potentially Lejeune and Schar making an ideal trio of centre-backs if sticking with a back five, with likes of Clark and Dummett also as options, Krafth as well at a push.

Anyway, if Newcastle United are in any way serious about Joe Willock and funds need to be raised to buy him, you have to be realistic about which players the other clubs would be interested in and prepared to pay good money for.

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