Newcastle United really struggled to sign a centre-back during the January transfer window.
With 15 minutes to go, the Magpies finally announced the arrival of Dan Burn from Brighton. That’s despite the fact that central defence was the club’s number one priority for the entire month.
Big names were linked, and there was serious interest in some elite players. However, deals collapsed and Newcastle were left scrambling to secure a centre-back.
Burn is a decent addition. He’s a local lad who knows the area and has Premier League experience. He’s also strong in possession and can play at left-back too, which is a bonus.
However, he wasn’t Newcastle’s first target. Instead, the Magpies were looking at much more ambitious options earlier in the window.
The Sven Botman saga was frustrating, with Lille unwilling to sell their Dutch defensive maestro. Then came the Diego Carlos fiasco, which was simply infuriating.
In the end, Sevilla dug their heels in and kept a hold of the 28-year-old Brazilian.
While the clubs were well within their rights to do that, it left Newcastle in a difficult position where their January objectives could not be met.
Botman and Carlos collapse hopefully doesn’t haunt Newcastle
At the start of the month, there were plans for Botman and Carlos to be the new centre-back duo at St James’ Park. Those claims were incredibly exciting.
A blend of youth and experience, and two players who have played at the top level. And they both wanted to join Newcastle.
Sadly, they weren’t allowed to and remain at Lille and Sevilla respectively.
Newcastle wanted two centre-backs, but only got one. And while he is a decent one, it’s not the original one Eddie Howe and co wanted.
Burn should be an improvement on our current options – he’s at least a fresh face. But there will perhaps be frustration among the hierarchy that a higher profile defender didn’t arrive.
With relegation still a very real possibility, the owners can do no more to help Howe. They’ve delivered five new players, all of which improve the squad.
However, there will be a fear from PIF that their failure to land a top class centre-back could come back to haunt them.
If Newcastle’s defence fails to improve and they go down, the owners will be asking themselves ‘why didn’t we just push the boat out that little bit further?’.
Here’s hoping Burn is enough to turn the defensive tide at St James’ Park…