Jesse Lingard pursuit makes most sense if Newcastle push for Man Utd loan
It looks like Newcastle manager Steve Bruce is determined to attack Manchester United for a loan deal in January as he looks to strengthen his squad for the second half of the season.
90 mins has learned that the Magpies boss is interested in taking Phil Jones, Brandon Williams and Jesse Lingard to the northeast on a temporary basis, but he will be hampered by Premier League rules on domestic loans.
Newcastle fans can be forgiven for feeling a bit disappointed with said caliber of players, and may be grateful that regulations allow them to sign only one of United’s deadwoods on loan.
But to better judge who would be the most welcome addition to St James ‘Park, it’s worth watching the Magpies’ season so far.
Like all teams this season, Bruce’s team struggled to stay consistent. A quietly efficient start and an upcoming Carabao Cup quarterfinal against Brentford in mid-December have made Toon fans optimistic for the season ahead as they sat down with 17 points after 11 games.
But an unforgivable surrender to Brentford in the Cup followed by just two of the 15 points available in the league saw that optimism evaporate, and Newcastle are now in 15th place, thankfully still eight points clear of the all-too-familiar relegation zone.
With a tiring, coronavirus-hit team emerging on the other side of a hectic Christmas calendar, it’s no surprise that Bruce is looking for backup. Considering that this is Bruce, it’s also not surprising that he’s looking at three players who are outcasts at their current club.
Granted, the January window is always more likely to consist of loan deals under Mike Ashley, particularly after the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, but identifying that United trio as the primary target seems to scratch the barrel a bit.
Phil Jones, for example, would have slipped completely into the wilderness of football if he hadn’t been linked with every lower half of the Premier League in most transfer windows. His injury predisposition meant he only appeared in two league games under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last season, and since then he has been knocked out of United’s 25-man squad.
There is also very little evidence to suggest he would be an upgrade on a defense that managed to hold Liverpool to a 0-0 draw at St James’ Park not long ago. Sure, the likes of Federico Fernandez, Fabian Schar and Ciaran Clark – deputizing for sick Jamaal Lascelles – aren’t drummers of the world, but they’re at least turned on and not sensitive to the lack of focus Jones so often displays.
Then there’s Brandon Williams, who is only a slightly more desirable option due to Newcastle’s lack of coverage in the backcourt. Jamal Lewis has struggled for form since moving from Norwich, but it would be disappointing to see the Magpies prioritize developing a young player from elsewhere, rather than committing to someone they signed on to a long-term contract this summer.
Other reports have suggested a deal is agreed “in principle,” indicating that Williams is Bruce’s preferred option of the three. But with only one Premier League appearance under his belt for United this season, he clearly lacks game sharpness; and while fitness isn’t an immediate concern, it seems odd that Newcastle aren’t revisiting Jetro Williams, who was a huge success at the club last season.
Truth be told, Newcastle’s backline is the least of their problems. They can go out of business whenever they want, and they’ve proven under Bruce that they can be tactically savvy and organized. When it comes to the creation of chance and purpose, it’s a whole different story.
Callum Wilson, who signed the summer, has a good comeback from goals on paper, but we all know his record has been increased by Newcastle’s generous help in penalties. 18 goals in 16 games as a club aren’t good enough, and that’s something Jesse Lingard – completely adrift at United – could come and help.
He doesn’t score a lot of goals, no, but he does shake things up. The 28-year-old is a willful and direct runner with the ball and is set to enter the early years of his career, not sitting on the sidelines.
It wasn’t that long ago that Lingard was used to the English setup, and the chance to get back into the frame will only come during normal playing time. He is unlikely to get a recall even if he were to move to Newcastle, but he could do a lot worse than Newcastle given the caliber of the sides he has also been linked to.
His best scoring comeback in a season is just eight, but when you consider that Joelinton, Andy Carroll and Dwight Gayle only managed six of their own last year, Lingard might not be one. so bad cry after all.
He’s not the perfect target, but if Newcastle are to strike a deal for any of the three, it makes the most sense – especially as two of the Toons’ next three games will be at the Emirates Stadium against Arsenal – and who wouldn’t want to. see that milly rock again?