There’s a couple of things that we know heading into the January transfer window: Newcastle United are terrible and also flush with cash, and Tottenham Hotspur are likely going to be open to shipping off a few of its players.
Today, the Telegraph had a report about Newcastle’s recent takeover by the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia, and how they may approach the forthcoming transfer window with an eye to (sensible chuckle) staying up. In that report, Luke Edwards and Mike McGrath suggest that Harry Winks is “an option” along with a number of other players that Newcastle could take a look at when the window opens in a month.
Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard, Chelsea’s Ross Barkley, Liverpool’s Nat Phillips, Burnley’s James Tarkowski, Atletico Madrid’s Kieran Trippier and Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Winks are just some of the names who have been discussed.
It remains to be seen if any of those deals can be finalised, but senior figures at the club have not come across any reluctance to do business with them from domestic or foreign rivals.
— The Telegraph
Look, Newcastle are in rough shape. They’re dead last in the Premier League, winless with only seven points after 14 matches. The Saudi PIF’s big move after the takeover was to replace Steve Bruce with... Eddie Howe. On current evidence, it would take a massive resurgence to get them out of the relegation zone and into safety, not because they’re so far behind the other relegation candidates but because they’re just playing some god-awful football. That is NOT a team that’s going to be attracting top tier players anytime soon; it’s more likely that they’ll need to ramp things up the way that Manchester City did in the immediate years following their own petrostate takeover.
So in that sense, fringe players at upper half clubs and good players from lower half clubs that can’t get moves anywhere better probably makes sense. And that brings us back to Winksy. The man that Antonio Conte affectionately calls “Winky” isn’t a good player for Tottenham (news flash!) but he’d be a perfectly cromulent midfielder at a club like Newcastle, and honestly his passing and ability to recycle the ball would probably be a pretty big asset to Toon under Howe.
I’m putting the cart waaaaaay in front of the horse here, I know (I’m also glossing over Kieran Trippier!!), but this actually makes sense. It’s already been heavily implied that Winks is unhappy with his status at Spurs (despite turning down a summer transfer and opting to fight for his place) and I just can’t see him being anything more than a bit player in Tottenham’s midfield. He’s also English so he’d command a slightly higher fee than other options as well.
I have no idea if this will progress past “he’s an option” to “he’s a viable target” but if Spurs are smart they’d be happy to discuss things further with Geordie Arabia next month.