Newcastle: George Caulkin believes PIF now planning for the long term
George Caulkin has claimed on Pod on the Tyne that Newcastle United are thinking of the long-term plan amid their inability to sign a midfielder last month.
The Lowdown: Newcastle in a risky situation
The Magpies were seemingly left a bit shocked near the end of the January transfer window when Nottingham Forest swooped for Jonjo Shelvey, which has now left them very short in the midfield department.
While Newcastle were linked with midfielders on deadline day such as Sander Berge and Conor Gallagher, PIF seemingly didn’t believe they were the right deals for Newcastle to do in January.
This is a sensible approach from a financial point of view as it will allow Newcastle to go big in the summer and improve their squad when they have more time to do business, however, it does leave Eddie Howe in a tough spot.
The Latest: PIF acting sensibly off the pitch
Despite fans likely being worried by the lack of a new midfielder coming in last month, Caulkin believes it’s because of the long-term plan PIF are working with on Tyneside.
He said: “I think their priority before the window was a defensive midfielder, and they haven’t got a defensive midfielder. And that is thrown into sharper focus, of course, with what happens with Bruno in the match, who will now be missing for three games.
“What we have to remember – and certainly what the club will say privately – is that they’re trying to build something long-term here.
“Of course, they want to get in the Champions League, and if they can get in the Champions League this season, nobody is going to turn that down – but they have a long-term plan.
Does Anderson deserve more minutes?
“The idea is not to get in the Champions League once; the idea is to get in the Champions League, full stop. That’s easier said than done when you look at the teams in the top six, of course. And the dilemma I think they felt in terms of that position was there weren’t great candidates available, there wasn’t a deep talent pool – certainly not for decent money.”
The Verdict: Howe must manage a fine balancing act
Howe insisted to the media that he wanted to make more signings during January, although he did also admit that he wouldn’t just be bringing in another player for the sake of it after losing Shelvey.
That shows Howe and the club’s owners are on the same page in that they wish to improve the squad whenever possible, but want to make sure they bring in the right sort of characters to help their growth.
Newcastle are very thin in midfield as things stand with Jonjo Shelvey having left, and with Bruno Guimaraes now missing the next three games, Howe is left with few options to call upon.
So perhaps just one loan deal could have been enough as they’re arguably an injury away from a crisis on Tyneside, which would be a huge blow given how well their season has gone thus far.