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Eddie Howe targeted Newcastle United signings hot form with (less than?) perfect timing

11 months ago

With the summer 2023 Premier League transfer window set to open less than two weeks after this current 2022/23 season ends, the conversation around prospective Newcastle United signings is really warming up.

Nobody is putting the horse before the cart…everybody at Newcastle United, especially the fans, know that the be all and end all is what happens these next eight weeks / twelve games in terms of the immediate and indeed, only short-term priority.

However, the debate about likely (and unlikely!) summer Newcastle United signings is increasing all the time, driven by the media of course AND by NUFC supporters themselves.

With this summer’s Newcastle United signings, everybody is agreed that the budget available will obviously be impacted by how this current season ends.

Champions League qualification would for sure equal more money coming into the club to help finance new signings and their wages via the prize money involved and increased revenues from all kinds of other income streams, particularly sponsors / commercial. Plus of course this stretches the FFP limitations massively outwards (in a better way) and CL football / status will help attract transfer targets.

Two prospective Newcastle United signings have come to the fore recently AND ironically, they are two targets who may well be able to be attracted to St James’ Park, regardless of where NUFC finish in the table this season.

Step forward Kieran Tierney and Scott McTominay.

Widespread media reports have repeatedly said that this pair have been of interest to Newcastle United for some time. This alleged interest has intensified as the season now nears its end.

I can well see why both players are very likely on Eddie Howe’s list of preferred potential signings, for all kinds of reasons.

Last night we were reminded of the most obvious of all, they are very good Premier League level players.

Scotland were expected to lose to Spain in their Euro 2024 qualifier and instead it was a 2-0 home victory.

The best two players on the pitch?

Kieran Tierney and Scott McTominay.

These Eddie Howe targeted Newcastle United signings hitting hot form with (less than?) perfect timing…

Visitors to BBC Sport were asked to rate the players on both teams last night and these were the top trio for both…


…and Scotland:

I know it was only one match but for me it was a reminder that these are two really good players.

I think it has been comical the reaction of many Newcastle United fans to the claimed interest in Scott McTominay in particular.

The thinking (or lack of it!) appears to be…Scott McTominay isn’t as good as Bruno, so why would NUFC be interested?

Well, a team (and a midfield) is made up of more than one player and indeed, you need a squad, not just a team.

Also, the fact is that Newcastle United don’t even currently have a holding /defensive midfielder in the entire squad currently, Bruno Guimaraes obviously can do the job BUT we want him further up the pitch.

Jonjo Shelvey was way below the quality of our other midfielders and indeed rest of the first team, if we replace Shelvey in the squad with Scott McTominay that would be a massive improvement. He can run around for a start!

He is mobile and tall / physical, just what Eddie Howe loves!

Newcastle United no longer get bullied by anybody on the pitch.

I think as well there is this mentality amongst many Newcastle fans that if the likes of Kieran Tierney and Scott McTominay aren’t getting a regular game at other Premier League clubs, then NUFC shouldn’t be going anywhere near them.

Also, I think there is a tendency for fans to automatically get more excited when Newcastle are linked with a player in another league, as compared to the Premier League, even if they have never seen them play!

Surely by now, ALL Newcastle United fans should be accepting what a great eye / understanding Eddie Howe has, when it comes to Newcastle United signings.

Newcastle United have made brilliant signings from abroad in Botman, Bruno, Isak and Trippier.

Eddie Howe has also made brilliant signings from the Premier League in Burn, Pope, Targett and Wood (brought specifically in because NUFC were getting relegated and with Wilson injured, Newcastle had zero PL strikers, then in the 15 PL matches Wood started last season we picked up 29 points). I am sure Gordon is also going to prove a big success but he has played so little, I will leave him out of this conversation.

Eddie Howe signed Pope, Targett and Burn for a combined figure of around £36m. Fair to say that not very many Newcastle fans were getting excited about any of these. Yet they have all proved class signings.

Targett wasn’t wanted at Villa after they bought Digne in January 2022, Burn was a squad player at Brighton who often didn’t start if everybody fit, Pope relegated with Burnley.

Yet all three, to varying degrees and timelines have been part of the best defence in the Premier League throughout the whole of 2022 and a quarter of the way into 2023. Harry Maguire cost £80m and Eddie Howe paid £36m for this quality trio!

Even if you didn’t think McTominay and Tierney were your idea of first team players next season, you would have to be a bit bizarre to think they wouldn’t be at the very least assets to the NUFC squad, especially if Newcastle United have Champions League demands next season as well.

Before Erik ten Hag arrived, these past three full seasons had seen Scott McTominay start 20 Premier League matches in 2019/20, then 24 PL starts in 2020/21, with 28 Premier League starting elevens last (2021/22) season.

However, the new manager has only started 26 year old McTominay seven times this season in the Premier League and only one of those in these past five and a half months, since 2 October 2022. The writing is clearly on the wall, Scott McTominay only starting once this season in the Europa League as well.

Bruno Fernandes, Casemiro, Christian Eriksen and Fred are all obviously ahead of him in the pecking order now. With Erik ten Hag even bringing in January loan signing Marcel Sabitzer to play ahead of Scott McTominay, whose last PL match was back in January.

Arsenal left back Kieran Tierney another on Eddie Howe’s target list of Newcastle United signings this summer, apparently.

He is also in the right age range, set to turn 26 in June. Plus, the same as Scott McTominay, isn’t getting much game time with his club.

Tierney was available for 24 Premier League matches last season and started 20 of them, on the bench the other four. This season he has also fallen out of favour and despite having been available for every Premier League match, has started only four and been named 24 times on the bench, with Zinchenko now first choice.

I think two things are clear for this pair of possible Newcastle United signings, their respective managers (Arteta and ten Hag) are clearly set to be there (at Arsenal and Man U) for the foreseeable AND Tierney and McTominay are not in their plans as key players.

Maybe they won’t be quite as unbelievably cheap as say the £10m Eddie Howe paid for Nick Pope.

However, I think the fees they are likely to go for will be very attractive, especially when it comes to bringing in alternatives from abroad.

I have no doubt Newcastle United will bring in players from overseas this summer BUT I also think for sure he’ll bring in proven Premier League players as well.

Kieran Tierney and Scott McTominay are two very likely suspects and along with other signings this summer, would see this Newcastle United squad step up another level for sure.


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