Kyle Bartley would have been a ‘top’ signing for Newcastle United, Kevin Phillips has told Football Insider.
The Telegraph reported last week that the Magpies had decided against a move for the West Bromwich Albion defender, who was apparently valued at just £3m by the Championship club.
Newcastle are keen to sign a ‘ball-playing’ centre-back this summer, with Celtic’s Kristoffer Ajer, former Liverpool loanee Ozan Kabak and Tottenham Hotspur’s Cameron Carter-Vickers among the other options they have considered (via The Athletic).
Bartley made 30 league appearances for West Brom last season as they unsuccessfully tried to stay in the top flight. He averaged 3.6 successful aerial duels and 5.3 clearances per game, along with a passing accuracy of 77.1% (via WhoScored).
Phillips feels that, even if he wasn’t ever-present in the Newcastle team, Bartley would have brought key traits such as experience and leadership to St James’ Park.
The former England striker told Football Insider: “He’s a solid defender and you could have seen him and Lascelles forming a good partnership. I think for £3m plus his wages it’s not going to kill you.
“He possibly wouldn’t have played week in, week out. But he’s also got that experience which could be vital for Newcastle next season.
“He was definitely one of the best players at West Brom after Allardyce came in last season. He’s a leader on and off the pitch as well, which helps. It could be a top deal.”
Despite Phillips’ endorsement, Bartley would have been a somewhat underwhelming signing in comparison to targets like Ajer and Kabak, imposing young defenders with plenty of potential and experience of major European competitions.
Perhaps they were simply priced out of moves for those targets, leading them to briefly consider a fairly cheap swoop for Bartley. The deal would have felt like short-term thinking, with the club currently in limbo as it waits to see whether the prospective Saudi-led takeover will go through.
Ultimately, it’s doubtful whether Bartley would have represented any improvement on the options already at Bruce’s disposal, considering that the 30-year-old was a regular in a Baggies team which had the worst defensive record in last season’s Premier League.
In other news, Newcastle are said to ‘admire’ this midfielder.
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