On Monday evening, Newcastle United confirmed that centre-back Kell Watts has joined Wigan on a season-long loan.
The 21-year-old has played a lot in pre-season, suggesting he could feature in Steve Bruce’s first-team plans.
The Toon boss has been looking for a new centre-back all summer, but the performances of Watts may have given him food for thought.
But could it suggest that reinforcements are on the way?
Newcastle boss Bruce desperately wants a new centre-back
Since then the club have sold Florian Lejeune and allowed Watts to leave on loan.
While Lejeune’s departure was always going to happen, the Watts deal totally came out of the blue.
It leaves Newcastle with five first-team centre-backs, as well as Isaac Hayden and Emil Krafth who can also play there.
Despite wanting a new centre-back, Bruce actually has fewer options than he had at the start of the summer.
So does Watts’ departure suggest that a replacement is on the way? Surely it would be naïve to let the local lad move to Wigan if no one is arriving in his place. Then again, this is Mike Ashley’s Newcastle…
The Magpies have been linked with multiple centre-backs this summer, but have missed out on various targets. Kristoffer Ajer, William Saliba and Axel Tuanzebe have all been linked but gone elsewhere.
There aren’t many other names heavily linked, meaning any imminent arrival would certainly be a surprise.
Good luck to Watts on loan, but his exit surely means someone else is taking his place in the squad. If not, we could be taking a big risk.