‘Magic’ outcast in 5 Newcastle could sell to West Brom as Bruce eyes raid
‘Magic’ outcast in 5 Newcastle could sell to West Brom as Bruce eyes raid
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‘Magic’ outcast in 5 Newcastle could sell to West Brom as Bruce eyes raid

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Steve Bruce is interested in reuniting with goalkeeper Karl Darlow in the summer, so who else could Newcastle United look to sell to the club’s former manager now at West Brom?

The Toon sacked Bruce in October within two weeks of the £305m Saudi-backed takeover. He was on borrowed time at St James’ Park prior to Mike Ashley selling, having overseen a torrid start to the Premier League season that left the Magpies battling to avoid relegation.

Newcastle sat 19th in the standings after going winless through eight games under the 61-year-old for five defeats. No side across the top-flight had also conceded more than the 19 goals shipped under Bruce, who claimed 13th and 12th-place finishes in his full campaigns.

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Steve Bruce interested in West Brom transfer for Karl Darlow of Newcastle

Darlow started in four of Newcastle’s Premier League games under Bruce this season after starting the term on the sidelines. The 31-year-old replaced Freddie Woodman in the net following his return to fitness, but conceded seven times without keeping a clean sheet.

Graeme Jones would retain Darlow as the number one option during his caretaker spell in charge. But the Northampton-born shot-stopper lost his space after Eddie Howe’s arrival, with the 44-year-old immediately restoring Martin Dubravka to the first-choice status.

Now, Bruce is interested in offering Darlow an escape route from his time in the Newcastle wilderness with West Brom. That’s according to The Sun, who report Howe is prepared to let the Nottingham Forest product leave St James’ on loan if the Toon sign a replacement.

Darlow is under contract until 2025, but features on Howe’s chopping block as he looks to trim the excess from his ranks to stay within Financial Fair Play limits when overhauling his squad this summer. The goalkeeper is one of 10 senior stars Newcastle are ready to let go.

So, who else could Newcastle look to sell to West Brom amid Bruce’s interest in reuniting with Darlow, amid the Magpies’ efforts to strengthen Howe’s ranks the Baggies boss left behind?

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Steve Bruce could offer Jamal Lewis an escape route from St James’ Park

Jamal Lewis is another Newcastle star stuck in the wilderness under Howe that Bruce could offer an escape route this summer, as he bids to strengthen the West Brom ranks over the off-season after the Hawthorns outfit could only end the Championship campaign in 10th.

The full-back features on Howe’s 10-man sales list after the Toon boss left Lewis out of his 25-man Premier League squad in February. He also only played in five top-flight games this season – starting four – with Matt Ritchie the favoured option before Matt Targett joined.

Lewis enjoyed all four of his starts under Howe, having played just six minutes whilst Bruce stood at the helm. But the Baggies boss also oversaw the 24-year-old’s arrival on Tyneside in September 2020 for £15m, in a deal that could see Norwich City eventually earn £20m.

Even despite not playing often, Lewis – who his former Canaries boss Daniel Farke claimed could create ‘magic with his left foot’ – remained vocal with his praise for Bruce during the full-back’s tough maiden campaign on Tyneside. He stated last March, via Chronicle Live:

“He [Bruce] has been nothing but good to me and when I have needed an arm around the shoulder, he’s been there. When we have needed a kick up the backside, he’s done that as well. I think he’s been good.”

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Dwight Gayle could secure Hawthorns return after invisible St James’ season

Dwight Gayle could secure a return to The Hawthorns this summer if Bruce looks to shop at Newcastle. The striker enjoyed a prolific year on loan at West Brom in 2018/19 with 23 goals and eight assists in 39 regular season games, before adding another in the play-offs.

Championship football has often suited the 32-year-old’s game and seen him score freely, with 23 in 32 games to help Newcastle seal the title in 2016/17. Yet United have not seen the same output from Gayle in the Premier League with a mere 11 goals in just 81 games.

Only eight of Gayle’s top-flight appearances have additionally come this season for a total of 30 minutes. He has not started a game, scored a single goal or provided an assist, either. So, it is no wonder that Gayle also features of Howe’s chopping block for summer sales.

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Matt Ritchie could replicate 2016/17 success with Championship return

West Brom claimed just 22 of a potential 51 points under Bruce this season following his appointment on February 3. It marked the 15th-best return and featured the sixth-worst offence, having scored just 18 goals across 17 games – fewer than the 21 they conceded.

Bruce could look to couple improving West Brom’s defensive record with Darlow by also showing interest in raiding Newcastle for further attacking options beside Gayle. A name that can be of interest to the Baggies who Howe is also not opposed to losing may be Ritchie.

The Scot was a creative force in the second-tier during the Magpies’ 2016/17 title win with 12 goals and eight assists. Bruce could now look to recreate that next season, with Ritchie providing a clinical delivery into the box from the left-flank in search of sealing promotion.

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Ciaran Clark could strengthen Baggies backline with Steve Bruce reunion

Ciaran Clark could help to strengthen the Baggies’ backline by reuniting with Bruce next season. The Republic of Ireland international is likely to leave St James’ over the summer after Howe omitted the centre-half from his 25-man side following Dan Burn’s January arrival.

Additionally, the 32-year-old enters the final year of his Magpies contract in June and will not merit fresh terms. After starting in six of Bruce’s final eight league games as Newcastle boss, Clark would go on to only start in two of his three appearances with Howe in charge.

Bruce also awarded the 36-cap defender starting roles across 21 of his 22 appearances last term. He even hailed Clark as ‘immaculate’ at the start of 2019/20 and, occasionally, had the Irishman producing vital defensive displays against top sides when results were poor.

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Newcastle could use West Brom interest in Karl Darlow to offload Jeff Hendrick

Newcastle will look to sell Jeff Hendrick this summer as the midfielder has no future back at St James’ Park. Howe sent the Republic of Ireland international to Millwall on loan this January, but he only started seven of 10 outings across 14 possible Championship games.

Hendrick also failed to score or provide an assist, and left United with only one goal from three Premier League games totalling 70 minutes this season. His troubles on Tyneside and at The Den could now see Howe struggle to sell the 2024 free agent Bruce signed in 2020.

So, with Bruce interested in reuniting with Darlow, Newcastle could use any approach to debate selling Hendrick to West Brom, as well. United could forgo any loan fee or help to cover some of the goalkeeper’s wages if doing so means the Baggies take the midfielder.