In Sky Sports’ Transfer Talk Podcast, Pete Graves gives insight into who could be coming into Newcastle, how much they are prepared to spend and who could leave St James’ Park in their biggest window ever…
How much are Newcastle going to spend this summer?
There is no budget. Certain people have put a number on it saying they’re going to pay this much and that much. Of course, Financial Fair Play is going to be a factor but I don’t think Newcastle are putting any number on their spending plans at the moment. They’re just going to see what happens.
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Image: Newcastle co-owner Amanda Staveley with chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan
What they won’t do is overspend on people where they think the price has been hiked up just because it’s Newcastle and the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund. They won’t play ball.
They have done some great business already in getting Matt Targett for £12m, well £15m because they paid £3m for the loan last season. They got Kieran Trippier for a great fee and Bruno Guimaraes for £40m which looks like a bargain now!
Newcastle were quite frugal in January and I expect them to be frugal once again here this summer. They want as many quality players as they can get, but they’re not going to overspend. The budget has not been set yet.
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After signing Matt Targett from £12m, who are Newcastle’s other big targets this summer?
There’s Hugo Ekitike and Sven Botman who are two top-quality players in France, they are the two players who are closest to getting through the door.
Newcastle have been linked with Lucas Paqueta from Lyon who is great friends with Bruno Guimaraes. The midfielder came over and spent his birthday with Bruno and was even photographed wearing a Newcastle shirt in Bruno’s garden! That got Newcastle fans excited, he’s a starting international for Brazil. Whether they would make a move for him, I’m not sure. I think for Lyon, the price would have to be right. Other top clubs are interested in Paqueta as well.
Steve Howey thinks Eddie Howe will be looking to improve all areas his Newcastle squad this summer.
I think Newcastle want a goalkeeper as well. They’ve been mentioned with a whole host of goalkeepers including Bernd Leno who’s going to Fulham – he was linked in January. Dean Henderson has been another one who’s been mentioned, Alphonse Areola but he could be on his way to West Ham.
All of these players have been mentioned as someone who could compete with Martin Dubravka for the number one spot. They definitely want to add in key positions. Right wing is another player they want to bring in, the likes of Moussa Diaby at Bayer Leverkusen and Ismalia Sarr at Watford. They would love to sign Diaby but they have been quoted a fee in the region of £60m, from what I’ve heard, which at this stage would be a little out of their price range.
I think they will add a right winger, one maybe two strikers, a central midfielder, a central defender and a goalkeeper – so they want to strengthen all the way through the spine.
Who could be leaving Newcastle?
There are lots of players, including many who didn’t get a squad number last season after Eddie Howe came in due to having a surplus of players.
The likes of Ciaran Clark, Dwight Gayle – who could score loads of goals in the Championship – and if Ekitike comes in then Gayle is the obvious one to move. Middlesbrough has been mentioned as a potential destination for Gayle, he’s got family in the north east and young children.
Jeff Hendrick is another one who could leave, he was on loan last season in the Championship. I expect he will go.
Image: Eddie Howe celebrates with his players
There has even been talk of the more senior players moving on. Players like Federico Fernandez who if Botman comes in, he would go. Some people have suggested the captain Jamal Lascelles might be seen as someone who Eddie Howe may want to cash in on. There’s been talk of Callum Wilson taking the captain’s armband and they rate Kieran Trippier as a leader as well.
If you’re going to get rid of Clark, Fernandez and Lascelles, you may be wanting to get two centre-backs in. It will be interesting to see. There will be one or two that surprise us with regards to leaving.
The view from France: Ekitike, Botman, Diaby and Nkunku
Once upon a time there was a French revolution at St James’ Park. During Alan Pardew’s tenure in the early 2010s, the likes of Hatem Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye, Moussa Sissoko and Loic Remy all arrived at Newcastle – and they nearly fired the Magpies to the Champions League.
This summer could see a similar type of influx with the club confident of completing a deal for teenage forward Hugo Ekitike, while French internationals Moussa Diaby and Christopher Nkunku have also been linked with the club. Meanwhile, the club are in talks with Lille over their defender Sven Botman.
To give more insight into the French or France-based targets, European football expert Julien Laurens appeared on the Transfer Talk podcast to discuss those targets:
Image: Reims striker Hugo Ekitike is a Newcastle target
Hugo Ekitike: “For Hugo, it’s too early to start thinking that he’ll start 38 Premier League games and score tons of goals as he’s only 19 and he’s only had one breakthrough season in Ligue 1.
“However, he’s one of the most ambitious young players I’ve seen in a very long time. He knows what he wants and his ability as well.
“No-one would have expected him to do so well in Ligue 1, he had injuries and worked in a team that was quite defensive. For him to score all those goals in a defensive team is quite remarkable.
“I have no doubt that he will go to Newcastle and think: Callum Wilson in No 1 but I’m better than Chris Wood. Eddie Howe will want to make it good. I think he’s a really good star.”
Sven Botman: “I believe Eddie is a big fan of Botman as well and rightly so. He’s a left-footed centre-back – but so is Dan Burn. I don’t know if they play him and Burn together, play a back three or whether Botman is an upgrade on what they have already got.
Image: Sven Botman could bolster Eddie Howe's defensive options
“Botman is fantastic, he will be such an asset for Newcastle if he signs. He had the most progressive passes in Ligue 1 last season, that’s crazy. His balls into the last third are great, he goes forwards with the ball. He has great vision, great reading of the game and is a big boy.
“The only thing I say is his ability on the turn, if the ball goes over his head behind him. If Eddie Howe plays a high defensive line, if he gives the likes of Erling Haaland a yard he’ll never catch him.”
Moussa Diaby: “Bayer Leverkusen are building something very good right now. They have a good squad, they might lose Patrick Schick and they want to keep Diaby. Newcastle are really pushing and he’s a French international as well, so the price has gone up a bit now.
Image: Moussa Diaby has impressed for Bayer Leverkusen
“He wants to be rewarded for the season he had just now, Leverkusen have Champions League football next year which Newcastle don’t have, so that may push him towards staying.”
Christopher Nkunku: “I believe Nkunku will sign a new deal at RB Leipzig and leave next summer. He was one of the Bundesliga Players of the Season and also registered goals and assists in the Europa League where they fell short.
“He’s carried the team all season, as a hybrid number nine, number 10, number eight. Wherever he plays, he’s incredible. He also has a big role to play for France at the World Cup in Qatar.”
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