Ex-Newcastle midfielder John Barnes hopes that his former club sign Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe and Manchester City’s Kalvin Phillips.
“Phillips and Smith Rowe are young and English. I love it when young English players go to clubs who have high aspirations. They both are very good players. Obviously, it’s not worked out for Phillips at Manchester City but that doesn’t mean he’s not a good player otherwise Man City wouldn’t have bought him.”
“As to whether he feels he wants to fight for his place at Man City but, of course, both of them would be very good acquisitions for Newcastle as was Harvey Barnes. I think both of them would be good signings for Newcastle.”
Newcastle will prioritise a replacement for Sandro Tonali in January
With Tonali’s 10-month ban for betting infringements having been ratified by FIFA, the Magpies will surely make replacing the Italian international a priority when the transfer window reopens.
Out of the two targets that Barnes mentions, Phillips would be the better fit. Like Tonali, he is comfortable playing in the holding midfield role, having looked the part playing there both in the Premier League for Leeds and at international level.
Can the club afford to buy Phillips?
Newcastle are facing a dilemma when it comes to Financial Fair Play. While they need to find cover for Tonali, they are not in a position to spend big. They had to sign Lewis Hall on an initial loan deal from Chelsea to secure the defender’s signature.
Whether a similar arrangement can be made with City for Phillips in January, with an option to buy next summer, we shall have to wait and see.