Newcastle United duo force transfer window rethink as trio continue to drain resources

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It’s been an impressive pre-season for these two Newcastle United surprise packages - but the Magpies still need to trim the fat.

Pre-season couldn’t really have gone any better for Eddie Howe and Newcastle United - even if the head coach has expressed his frustrations throughout the course of it.

Initial transfer upset has eased with the addition of Tino Livramento (pending) and Harvey Barnes to boost the early doors arrival of former AC Milan man Sandro Tonali.

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Chances are all three of those players, with Barnes potentially the only exception, could well find themselves on the bench for the visit of Aston Villa to St James’ Park on Saturday in the Premier League opener.

Elliot Anderson of Newcastle United celebrates with teammates after scoring their team’s second goal  during the Premier League Summer Series match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Newcastle United at Red Bull Arena on July 28, 2023 in Harrison, New Jersey. Elliot Anderson of Newcastle United celebrates with teammates after scoring their team’s second goal  during the Premier League Summer Series match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Newcastle United at Red Bull Arena on July 28, 2023 in Harrison, New Jersey.
Elliot Anderson of Newcastle United celebrates with teammates after scoring their team’s second goal during the Premier League Summer Series match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Newcastle United at Red Bull Arena on July 28, 2023 in Harrison, New Jersey. | Getty Images for Premier League

While that would come as a surprise to many, it’s names who could well join them on the bench that come as even more of a shock to the system, proving themselves more than worthy deputies both stateside and back on home shores in this rarified, unbeaten summer.

Anderson is no surprise - but two more academy stars have emerged

It’s long been known that Elliot Anderson is the pick of the Magpies’ youth ranks crop - but there might well be another two players keen to snatch that crown.

The Whitley Bay-born No.10 is making a real name for himself in his new, slightly-adjusted No.8 slot, but despite ending the summer as the Magpies’ top scorer, will find it tough to dislodge recently-capped Brazil international Joelinton or Barnes or Anthony Gordon, the official player of the under-21 Euros, in his more natural left-sided role.

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Elliot Anderson of Newcastle United looks on during the Sela Cup match between ACF Fiorentina and Newcastle United at St James’ Park on August 05, 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.Elliot Anderson of Newcastle United looks on during the Sela Cup match between ACF Fiorentina and Newcastle United at St James’ Park on August 05, 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
Elliot Anderson of Newcastle United looks on during the Sela Cup match between ACF Fiorentina and Newcastle United at St James’ Park on August 05, 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. | Getty Images

Anderson is sure to be a much more utilsed player by Howe this season, who will need his squad to stretch deep while fighting on four fronts. And, there is no doubt, Anderson is already saving the club’s owners millions. But two other players have stepped up to the plate this summer to give head coach Howe something to think about, especially with Newcastle stretching their spending to the limit in the summer window.

Alex Murphy’s versatility plugs defensive gap

Able to play at left back, or in either of the central defensive positions, Irishman Alex Murphy has proven a remarkable find this summer - and goes some way to supporting the club’s defensive recruitment policy.

Newcastle have far from neglected the need for a left-back, they were as aware of the requirement to add in that department this summer as even the most critical fan. However, they, so far, have chosen not to push on with a deal for a player in that department. Why? The reason is basic, the quality of player is just not out there, available and affordable. So in light of that, why sign a player you do not deem at the right level, just to fill a gap?

There is definite method in their percieved madness. Instead they’ve gone for quality in Livramento. And know Kieran Trippier can cover. It’s expected Dan Burn will continue but the club also has Matt Targett and Paul Dummerr, should they need them. Add Murphy to that pack, too, and the picture starts to emerge that maybe the drop off, should a Burn, for example, get injured, is not quite as stark as it would be on the other side.

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Alex Murphy #54 of Newcastle United challenges Diego Moreira #42 of Chelsea during the second half of the Premier League Summer Series match at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on July 26, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia.Alex Murphy #54 of Newcastle United challenges Diego Moreira #42 of Chelsea during the second half of the Premier League Summer Series match at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on July 26, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Alex Murphy #54 of Newcastle United challenges Diego Moreira #42 of Chelsea during the second half of the Premier League Summer Series match at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on July 26, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. | Getty Images for Premier League

Lewis Miley progression saves Howe a major headache

Another player who has, without doubt, altered transfer thinking in the halls of power is Lewis Miley.

Newcastle went into the summer window looking to potentially add two midfielders, one like Tonali and one of a younger profile. The need for that has diminised with every passing minute in pre-season, Miley with Anderson have classily strode their way right into the manager’s thinking. In fact, you could even say they both look more likely for minutes at the moment than the man the club paid around £52 million for.

Trio drain Newcastle resources

It’s not all rosey at St James’ Park this summer, though. The need to get players out the door has almost been as crucial as the desire to bring them in.

And while an Allan Saint-Maximin exit allowed some Financial Fair Play regulation wriggle room, as well as trimming Karl Darlow and others has helped matters, three players remain on the books continuing to blight any further movement.

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Newcastle United winger Ryan Fraser has been training with the Under-21's.Newcastle United winger Ryan Fraser has been training with the Under-21's.
Newcastle United winger Ryan Fraser has been training with the Under-21's. | Getty Images

Ryan Fraser, Jeff Hendrick and Isaac Hayden continue to pick up around £150,000 per week between them, costing the club more than £600k per month in wages. It’s fair to say interest in taking the players, two of whom are totally unwanted, the other a good club servant but a victim of on-field progress, has been limited. Even more so when it comes to picking up a high percentage of their wages.

It is essential the Magpies not only become good developers of their own talent, the likes of Anderson, Miley and Murphy, but also get a reputation of being positive sellers. Moving players on for value, worth, not being forced to gift them away due to restrictive wages, contracts or talent.

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