Steve Bruce’s bold plan to lure Granit Xhaka to Newcastle in January have reportedly been backed by Lee Charnley, according to the Northern Echo, but ultimately may prove fruitless.
The report claims Charnley is “willing to sanction a deal if it could be agreed”, but adds Arsenal have another plan for the Swiss midfielder, with them hoping to use him as a makeweight in potential signings of their own.
The news will be a blow to Bruce, and it comes hot on the heels of reports that he looks set to miss out on the possible signing of Antwerp defender Aurelio Buta, as we wrote previously.
Of course, should Fabian Schar convince Xhaka that Newcastle is where he needs to be – a ploy reportedly being used by Bruce – he could refuse to go elsewhere, and push for a move to Tyneside.
Although, in football, money often talks, and if he was to receive a good offer at another club – likely to be abroad – he would, in all likelihood, be open to a deal.
If both Xhaka and Buta are genuine priority targets for Bruce in January, the double blow could see today become his personal Black Monday, and could potentially leave Newcastle’s transfer plans in tatters.
Bruce will have other targets but will hope to land his priority ones
He is sure to have other targets being monitored for every position he is interested in strengthening, but if he fails to get either of his priority targets for the midfield and full-back slots, he will surely be left extremely disappointed.
How true either of the reports turn out to be, remains to be seen, of course, and it may well be that Newcastle manage to land both players, whether on loans or permanent deals.
Newcastle have been, and will continue to be, linked with numerous players, most of which are likely to be wide of the mark, and at the present time, it is a guessing game who are genuine targets, and who are not.
But the fact that Bruce and Newcastle have refused to dismiss the Xhaka speculation, and that scouts have been noted in attendance at Antwerp games to watch Buta, suggest that there is real interest in the pair.
Let’s hope Lee Charnley – for once – can act swiftly in negotiations with clubs and players this January, and get the deals secured early, in a bid to fend off other interested parties.