Newcastle facing Premier League competition in race for top-flight midfielder

Aston Villa have joined Newcastle in the race to sign OGC Nice midfielder Wylan Cyprien, a report from French outlet Foot Mercato has claimed. It was recently reported that Newcastle are interested in a move for Cyprien, who Nice are apparently willing to sell this summer, and it now seems as though the Magpies are not the only club interested in bringing the Frenchman to the Premier League.


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Report: EFL club make offer for Newcastle man, departure likely

Rotherham United have made an offer to sign midfielder Dan Barlaser from Newcastle, a report from a print edition of The Daily Mirror (27/09, p69) has claimed. Barlaser spent last season on loan at Rotherham, scoring two goals and providing five assists in 27 league appearances to help the Millers win promotion back to the Championship at the first time of asking, and now it seems as though…


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Steve Bruce dismisses suggestions of high-profile Newcastle departure

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce has insisted he has never considered selling striker Joelinton during the current transfer window. There had been reports earlier in the window that Fenerbahce are interested in the striker, while it has also been suggested that the Magpies may be forced to sell Joelinton to fund a move for Napoli forward Akadiusz Milik. Bruce however, is adamant that that will not…


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Jose Mourinho makes interesting Newcastle United admission

Tottenham Jose Mourinho has spoken of his affection for Newcastle United, even admitting he came close to joining the club some time ago. Mourinho goes up against the Magpies this afternoon when they make the trip to North London to face his Spurs side, and it seems there will be an element of fondness held by Mourinho for his opposition this weekend. The 57-year-old was handed his opportunity in…


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Trust Fraser, formation change: A plan for Newcastle to beat Spurs – Opinion

This article is the first entrant in our The Plan series, where Nothing But Newcastle will try to formulate a game-plan for the Magpies ahead of a fixture. 

Even in a week during which Newcastle United have recorded their biggest ever away win, not everything has been positive. While it’s good to have seen the Magpies secure easy entry into the next round of the Carabao Cup, the manner of the weekend loss to Brighton was certainly worrying.

Steve Bruce himself admitted it was an awful afternoon as the Seagulls ran rampant at St. James’ Park and, during the busiest season in years, he has had little time to prepare for a trip to Tottenham Hotspur today. The scene of his first Premier League win as Toon boss and an early goal for Joelinton last season, so much has changed since then.

But what does Bruce need to change for his second visit of Spurs’ brand new home? Here’s The Plan.

1) Five at the back


A few hours before Newcastle meekly surrendered against Brighton, Tottenham were struggling to break Southampton down. Now, that might sound strange given Mourinho’s men eventually ran out 5-2 winners but – aside from Tanguy Ndombele breaking the press to help Harry Kane tee up Son just before the interval – it’s fair to say they struggled, as Charlie Eccleshare of the Athletic pointed out.

After Son’s goal, Southampton pressed forward and their high line was constantly caught out as Kane assisted the South Korean forward a record-breaking 4 times over the 90 minutes. With the pace of Son and players such as Erik Lamela, Steven Bergwijn and Lucas Moura also available, Kane certainly has options.

To combat this, adding another central defender seems wise. Aside from the England captain, only one player has created a ‘big chance’ in the Premier League (with stats taken from SofaScore), so the less space he has to aim for when searching for runners, the better.

Emil Krafth could prove important here. The Swede has played centrally five times over the course of his Newcastle career and, with Paul Dummett, Fabian Schar and Ciaran Clark all out, is the only genuine option, unless Isaac Hayden dropped back and Sean Longstaff came into a midfield role.

2) Play Miguel Almiron

This one seems fairly obvious, given how Almiron at least provided some attacking impetus when he came on against Brighton in what was otherwise a miserable afternoon for Newcastle. Not selected from the start against either West Ham or the Seagulls, Almiron provided an assist in the first game and 3 key passes in the latter, as well as teeing up Ryan Fraser for his first goal against Blackburn and scoring against Morecambe.

There’s also his pace to take into account. With Newcastle having just 19.1% of the ball in their last trip to North London, having someone who can counter at pace will be crucial in getting the team up the pitch. Adding goals and assists to his game in recent months, Bruce shouldn’t overlook him again.

3) Play Ryan Fraser over Allan Saint-Maximin


Prior to this weekend’s game, Bruce himself admitted he had been ‘guarded’ over the use of Ryan Fraser following his move in the summer. Given that the Scotsman hadn’t played since March when he joined that does seem understandable but with a run of games under his belt, it’s time to start him.

Allan Saint-Maximin is thought to have struggled with an ankle problem during the week after being replaced by Fraser against Brighton and, now, Bruce can afford to rest the winger.

Already this season, Fraser has made more interceptions (3 to 0) than his teammate and faired a bit better defensively during his last full season of action (2017/18) with Bournemouth, making more clearances and blocks a game than Saint-Maximin did last season. If the Toon are going to soak up pressure and hit Spurs on the counter-attack, his defensive work coupled with his pace (as well as his relationship with Callum Wilson) must be used from the get-go.

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Profile: Newcastle United wonderkid who made history at 14

This article forms the launch of our Spotlight series where Nothing But Newcastle will shine a light on individual players who have made Newcastle United news, whether they be at the club already or not. 

Although the emergence of the Longstaff brothers in the last season or two have slightly increased its profile, it’s fair to Newcastle United’s academy hasn’t always offered a direct route into the first-team. Prior to first Sean and later Matty, the last genuine prospect to establish himself was Paul Dummett and, before him, Andy Carroll was the headliner prior to his move to Liverpool almost a decade ago. After all, according to the Athletic, the club themselves recognised the fact that the likes of Mehdi Abeid and Victor Fernandez had complained of a lack of a pathway between the youth-setup and the starting XI.

So, the fact that a current academy starlet hit the news recently is reason to celebrate. Indeed, 15-year-old Bobby Clark was included to take part in the BBC’s ‘Wonderkid Challenge’, where three of the brightest young talents in England will face off to compete over who has the best skill move.

With that in mind, here’s a look at the type of player Clark is.

Who is Bobby Clark?

Bobby is the son of former Newcastle hero, Lee. Much like his father – who famously scored a hat-trick for England Schoolboys at the age of 15 – Clark junior has already made an impression at youth level. According to the Chronicle, he made history by making his U18 debut (a 2-1 loss to West Brom in August 2019) at 14 years and 206 days.

Given a scholarship earlier that year by the club, he does appear to be highly-rated.

Where does he play?

Listed on Transfermarkt as a right-footed midfielder, Clark is introduced in his BBC video as a ‘Number 10’ and someone who comes with ‘plenty of goals, pace and flair’. He also cites his favourite skill as the ‘double L turn’ which is comparable to the ‘Marseille turn’ popularised by the French striker Yves Mariot in the 1970s and later the likes of Zinedine Zidane and Diego Maradona.

Are any other clubs keen?

According to the Daily Mail in November 2019, a number of clubs were thought to have been keen on a move for Clark, should he decide on a move away from the club. They cite the likes of Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Manchester City as those interested, with Tottenham thought to be leading the way at the time.

Newcastle have previous when it comes to losing exciting prospects. Back in 2017, Everton poached Lewis Gibson (an U17 World Cup winner with England) away from the club and a number of sides have previously been linked with a move for Freddie Woodman, hoping to tempt him away before he could be given a chance as a firs-team regular.

What has his father said about him?

Speaking to Tribal Football, Lee Clark has praised the coaching staff for their work with his son.

“We are a very, very proud family that he has been selected to represent England against the Republic of Ireland and Turkey”, wrote. It’s a great feat so we’re extremely proud. He’s getting coached very well at Newcastle’s academy. Everyone who is there and the various different teams he plays in are terrific.

“Ben Dawson, the head of coaching, I have a good relationship with and I have regular contact with him and talk about how Bobby is getting on. And I let them guys get on with coaching him and looking after him. They are doing a terrific job.”

All in all, Clark certainly looks an exciting prospect for Newcastle United in the years to come.

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Opinion: Lack of planning and odd signings reasons why Newcastle are bad spenders

According to a study conducted by Paddy Power and relayed by the Sun, Newcastle United are amongst the top 10 worst spenders in the Premier League. Using data from Transfermarkt and analysing deals between the 2011/12 campaign, it suggests the Magpies have a net expenditure of £181.18m. 

Only the two Manchester clubs, London rivals Chelsea and Arsenal and Everton, Aston Villa, West Ham and Brighton have a higher net spend in that period. Considering the fact there was a period between July 2013 and June 2014 when only one permanent deal (Olivier Kemen from Metz) was completed, it doesn’t reflect particularly well on some of the business – both buying and selling – conducted.

How have Newcastle spent so badly?


Seeing as the start of this study is back in 2011/12, perhaps a look into Alan Pardew’s comments on Newcastle’s recruitment policy can shed some light. In his report on Newcastle’s business the summer just gone, the excellent George Caulkin of the Athletic quoted Pardew as saying they had brought in too many ‘rascals’. During an in-depth piece on Newcastle’s Europa League journey of 2012/13 Pardew, James Perch and Tim Krul all expressed their frustrations of the way the club acted in the transfer market that summer, from which the study starts.

‘Top players want to see someone come in. You have to give them a lift. If they don’t see anyone come in, they end up feeling, ‘How can we possibly do better than last year?’ That worried me, and I was right to worry’, said Pardew.

“That was the time for the club to put some money where its mouth was”, explained Krul.

“It was disappointing we didn’t get that backing,” Perch admitted. “We understood the fans’ frustrations. We were feeling exactly the same.”

Frustrations didn’t stop there. There was, of course, the battle between Rafa Benitez and top brass over the decision to sign an unproven Joelinton at £40m over Salomon Rondon on a permanent basis in the summer of 2019.

Arguably, by not strengthening at the right time and relying on the ‘half-plan’ imposed by the Mike Ashley regime (Lee Charnley included) Caulkin writes about in his piece, the club actually cost themselves more. While it’s too much to definitively claim that shelling out after finishing fifth would have stopped the eventual slide to relegation in 2016, strengthening a side in its prime to compete once more would surely have been a better idea than only adding Vurnon Anita ahead of a much busier schedule. Had they acted on that glorious campaign, money may never have been spent on the likes of Mapou Yanga-Mbwia (£6.7m) and Massadio Haidara (£2.9m) who proved to be flops as they scrambled for Premier League safety in the January market of 2013.

Why do they struggle to recoup money?


Simply put, the level of players Newcastle have bought in the last 10 years have rarely been good enough to sell on for a profit. There are outliers, of course, with talent such as Moussa Sissoko (£3om), Ayoze Perez (£30m), Georginio Wijnaldum (£25m) and Yohan Cabaye (£19m) raising funds. Still, losses on the likes of Remy Cabella, Siem De Jong and Emmanuel Riviere further compound how bad those additions were given their complete lack of impact in the first-team. Speaking of which, the strange loan move for Seydou Doumbia is believed to have cost the club just under £1m in a six-month spell that yielded just 3 games.

The aforementioned Yanga-Mbwia and Haidara never imposed themselves on first-team proceedings (making less than 100 Premier League appearances between them) and both left for less than they arrived. There’s also £4.5m signing Henri Saivet, who is understood to be on a big contract, and has been left out by a number of managers as well as the likes of Matz Sels (£5m) and Grant Hanley (£5.5m) who both departed for a reported £3.5m each following poor stints in black and white.

Release clauses have been another problem. Demba Ba was prized away early for a paltry £7m to Premier League giants Chelsea (he had scored 13 goals in 20 games that season up until that point) and Andros Townsend (who was in the England set-up at the time) left for just £13m following the Toon’s relegation in 2016 as a result of these.

Which manager spent the most?


Using Transfermarkt data, Rafa Benitez spent the most during his time at Newcastle at £148.57m, which would tally with the fact he was the manager during a boom period for the Premier League when it comes to TV rights and money afforded to clubs. According to the league’s official site, over £123m was given to Newcastle on that basis for the 2017/18 campaign alone.

The Spaniard’s spend equates to roughly £49m a season during his three years but Pardew and Steve McClaren don’t lag far behind, with £96.29m and £97.12m spent respectively. With the former in charge for roughly five years, his average stands at £19.25m a season.

During his three windows in charge, Steve Bruce has shelled out £100.49m (an average of £50.24m a season) with time still go in this window.

What have been some of the worst deals?

Most of the names already mentioned have to be up there. Indeed, French-based imports such as Cabella, Yanga-Mbwia, Riviere and Haidara did little to justify their place in the squad. Both De Jong brothers may well have enjoyed success elsewhere but proved ineffective at St. James’ Park – playing just 38 games between and only Siem scored a goal. Who can forget the strange loan move for Argentine striker Facundo Ferreyra, too? Transfermarkt claim his brief stint cost €2m, only for the now-Benfica star not to even play.

Benitez – popular as he is – has to take some of the blame too.

Sels, Hanley and Achraf Lazaar never proved their worth on Tyneside and, while Jacob Murphy has looked impressive of late, he’s rarely been a fixture in the first-team following his £12m move from Norwich City as he heads into the final few months of his deal.

The jury is still out on Joelinton. At this stage, it seems unlikely he’ll be able to oust Callum Wilson as the club’s first-choice striker and his club-record signing has been met with criticism from the likes of Micky Quinn and Alan Shearer.

So, why have Newcastle spent so badly?

Confused recruitment and a lack of planning at critical times, it seems. Pardew had built an entertaining side at the start of the 2010s and Benitez a solid enough one towards the end but some strange moves such as the ones listed above have seen the club spend unwisely.

The French-based recruitment drive and the big money spent under Steve McClaren’s watch could not stop relegation and the amount of failed signings in between have cost the club an awful lot of money.

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Opinion: Bid for Newcastle player must be considered with 2021 in mind

The Rotherham Advertiser report the Millers have launched a bid to bring Dan Barlaser back to the club after a successful loan stint last season and, despite some pre-season promise, those behind the scenes at Newcastle United would be foolish not to accept it. 

Indeed, the Chronicle noted his creativity and referenced the cross-field pass that ‘drew great applause from the touchline’ during the friendly with Stoke in early September but, frankly, the Magpies need all the help they can get when it comes to getting players off the wage bill. Though there are presumably bigger earners (the likes of Henri Saivet and Achraf Lazaar spring to mind) Steve Bruce himself admitted he needed to start getting some of his playing staff out of the club.

Central midfield is also an area in which Bruce is well-stocked. Alongside regular first-team pairing Isaac Hayden and Jonjo Shelvey, the Longstaff brothers are options and Jeff Hendrick has 234 career appearances listed in that position.  Given that Bruce adopted a 5-4-1 system 20 times last season and started with a 4-4-2 twice this campaign, that means there are currently seven centre-midfielders (Barlaser and Saivet included) battling for two spots.

While the Athletic did report that the 23-year-old had impressed coaches for his work over the summer, the club need to start raising money. Barlaser is out of contract in the summer and has little chance of breaking into the first-team given the number of options available to Bruce so potentially getting even a nominal fee for him could help out a club noted Twitter account Swiss Ramble estimated were losing £11m for playing behind closed doors at St. James’ Park.  Furthermore, 11 players are due to be out of contract next summer so acting on any transfer interest for some of those individuals has to be a priority, or the club risk a substantial exodus in just a few months time on free transfers.

Newcastle have reportedly been offered a chance to bring in some cash. They have to take it.

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Postponed talks could impact Newcastle financially – Opinion

The collapse of the Newcastle United takeover may have had another negative impact on proceedings at the club. While links with the likes of Mauricio Pochettino and Edinson Cavani proved exciting and ultimately fruitless, perhaps a more worrying aspect there was no change in ownership was recently pointed out by the Athletic

According to their report, the powers that be at St. James’ Park expected a new regime to be in charge and, therefore, postponed contract talks with a number of players. The likes of DeAndre Yedlin, Fabian Schar and Christian Atsu are all understood to be available for offers and, in an ideal world, would have been handed a 12-month contract extension before being loaned out to increase their value, rather than be heading for the last few months of their deal with nothing sorted.

There’s also the more extreme cases of Henri Saivet and Achraf Lazaar. Between them, they have made just 18 appearances in the first-team and, as Lee Ryder recently pointed out, were not even selected for the recent U21s loss to Shrewsbury in the EFL Trophy. While there is no confirmation as to how much both are being paid by Newcastle, Ryder notes they are ‘huge wage packets’.

So, the idea of having a number of these players simply drifting along with little hope of increasing their value is obviously an issue. Couple in the fact that the Premier League themselves recently claimed up to £100m a month was being lost due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic and everything points towards an unwelcome financial loss on many of these players during these most unwelcome of times. Notable Twitter account Swiss Ramble also estimated the club could lose £11m by playing behind closed doors for the rest of the campaign.

Speaking to the Shields Gazette yesterday, Bruce spoke of the need to get players off the books. Without extensions and loans, it’s hard to see the club improving the value of any of the players not currently in the first-team picture as they head into the final stages of their deals, with 11 players due to be out of contract in 2021. With many able to speak to foreign clubs on January 1st and leave for free in the summer, the prospect of recouping substantial money looks slim. While we’ve recently written about how Jacob Murphy’s performances of late are promising on that front, it’s hard to see how many of the others can replicate what he can potentially do, given the sheer number of individuals.

The long limbo Newcastle were left in as they awaited news from the Premier League in regards to the takeover was frustrating for fans. Even more seriously, it may have stopped important talks with players who could raise money.

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Report: Newcastle make their move for defender from European giants

Newcastle United have submitted an opening offer to Juventus for the signing of defender Daniele Rugani, according to a report from Italian outlet Calciomarcato. It was recently reported that both Newcastle and their Premier League rivals West Ham are interested in a move for Rugani, with Juve apparently open to offers for the centre back. Now it appears as though Newcastle have made their move…


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