Newcastle United supporters have been particularly quiet in the Transfer Tavern this week after seeing their side suffer a 1-0 defeat at home to Bournemouth on Saturday, in turn falling to a second successive Premier League loss.
Rafa Benitez’s men went into their clash with the Cherries sat ninth in the table with a solid tally of 14 points from ten matches, yet they did lose their preceding match at Turf Moor to Sean Dyche’s high-flying Clarets. And they suffered back-to-back league defeats for the second time this season on Saturday as a late Steve Cook header was enough to seal a 1-0 success for Eddie Howe’s side, who in turn moved out of the Premier League’s bottom three, while the Magpies slipped to 11th after a fifth loss of the campaign.
Thus, several of our resident Newcastle fans have been despondent in the Tavern this week and are wondering where it has gone wrong for their side in recent games, although there are still reasonably upbeat given their team’s solid start to the season.
And with an international break upon us for the next fortnight, many are turning their attentions towards what business the Magpies could look to do in January, and one man who could return to England with the North East giants is Hamburg midfielder Lewis Holtby.
The 27-year-old made the move to the Bundesliga outfit after leaving Tottenham in 2015, where he played just 42 games and was shipped out for separate loan spells at Fulham and then Hamburg to underline his struggles at White Hart Lane.
Yet it doesn’t appear that the Germany international has much of a future at Hamburg, as he was reportedly left out of their matchday squad against Stuttgart at the weekend, which means that he has now failed to start any of their last five Bundesliga games.
And with Newcastle reportedly interested over the summer, this could give Benitez a boost in pursuit of the midfielder, but it’s a deal they have to avoid in January as Holtby showed little in his previous spell in England, as well as recent times in Germany, that he can solve Newcastle’s offensive problems.
Ultimately, the 27-year-old managed a paltry four goals and 11 assists in 55 games for both Tottenham and Fulham, which isn’t exactly the most prolific of returns for a player who had much promise when he moved to North London back in 2013 – the fact he had to go on loan to the Cottagers speaks volumes about his struggles.
And when one looks at his record at Hamburg, both on loan in 2014 and then permanently since 2015, it doesn’t make for great reading either with just five goals and 12 assists in 98 appearances for the club – he’s not making a huge difference or having a telling impact regularly in his homeland.
More importantly though, from Newcastle’s point of view, is that the £4.5 million-rated star (as per Transfermarkt) will not solve their goal-scoring problems.
It’s obvious that the Magpies are short in the forward ranks, with Joselu a good all round striker but not a prolific finisher, while Dwight Gayle’s injury record cannot be trusted, and Aleksandar Mitrovic cannot be trusted full stop.
But in terms of those just behind, they are well stocked with Christian Atsu, Matt Ritchie, Jonjo Shelvey, and Mikel Merino – adding Holtby would only serve to bolster those ranks, not solve the overall problem which is further up the pitch.
Yes, a fresh start somewhere new could be exactly what the 27-year-old needs to get back to the form that earned him a move to Spurs back in 2013, but after a wretched time in England before and four years of underwhelming displays, Newcastle simply must avoid a move for the German star in the New Year.
Newcastle fans… what do you think? Let us know!