Newcastle appear to have made strengthening their academy and under-23 sides a priority recently, and they should join the host of clubs interested in Wigan’s coveted teenage striker Joe Gelhardt.
The Daily Star reported a number of top Premier League sides are hoping to swoop for the 17-year-old prospect, including the likes of Liverpool, both Manchester clubs and Chelsea, among others.
Newcastle have made some shrewd additions in the youth department over the last few months, and there are signs the recruitment drive for top, up and coming talent is set to continue.
The Magpies were reportedly on the verge of completing a deal for Queen’s Park’s 16-year-old Scotland Under-17 midfielder Reagan Thompson, while they are said to maintain an interest in Rochdale’s 17-year-old full-back Luke Matheson.
Gelhardt, who has become a regular in Wigan’s senior squad during this season’s Championship campaign, would be a fantastic addition to Newcastle’s growing academy talent, and with him being scouted by so many clubs, Steve Bruce must surely be represented too.
He is still a very raw prospect, who has been with the Latics since the age of 10, and the report adds that the club are under no pressure to sell the youngster, and have tied him down to a new deal recently.
He has also, however, been valued at around £5 million, and whether the new deal was more to ensure they extract the maximum fee for him – given all the interest – than a genuine hope to keep him long-term, is open for debate.
Newcastle must continue to compete for top young talent
Liverpool would have to be seen as the most likely destination for the young forward, as he was born in the city, and is a fan of the club.
But Newcastle must compete with the top clubs in the race for tomorrow’s superstars, and they have proved they are able to do so in the past.
With transfer fees being so astronomical these days, finding players at a very young age can save clubs absolute fortunes, while giving them a saleable asset in the future.
Those two things are key to Newcastle transfers under Mike Ashley, and is likely to be why they are investing so much time and so many resources into unearthing the best youngsters available.
The Longstaffs are proof of what can happen if you nurture the right young players in the right way, and if Newcastle want to continue to progress with that philosophy, someone like Gelhardt is exactly the type of player they should be looking at.