One man who has been a notable absentee amid Newcastle United’s upturn in fortunes so far in 2022 is left-back Jamal Lewis, with the 24-year-old currently facing an uncertain future at St James’ Park after enduring another underwhelming campaign.
Having impressed during his time at former club Norwich City, the Northern Ireland international was snapped up on an initial £15m deal (rising to £20m) by the Magpies in September 2020, which was viewed as something of a coup as they managed to secure the deal despite reported interest from Liverpool.
However, despite arriving with a great deal of potential, the full-back has seemingly shown more signs of regression than progression on Tyneside, going on to make just 32 appearances for the club in all competitions over the past two seasons.
That haul includes just six outings this term in what has been an injury-hit campaign, with the 23-cap gem suffering the disappointment of being left out of Eddie Howe’s 25-man Premier League squad following the completion of the January transfer window.
While the former Bournemouth boss put that omission down to injury – insisting that the defender “has been struggling with a long-term groin injury for probably the last year” – the winter arrival of loanee Matt Targett also played its part, with Howe in little need of an extra defender.
Resigned to the role of spectator in recent months, Lewis will have had to watch on as his team-mates have gone from strength to strength in his absence, with it unclear as to whether he will have a future at St James’ Park come the start of next season.
Recent reports have suggested that PIF are eyeing a new left-back recruit, with both Mitchel Bakker and Renan Lodi seemingly on their radar, which suggests that the former Canaries starlet may have to settle on a new destination.
Should he move on in the upcoming transfer window, Newcastle will likely take a hit with regards to his asking price. The player is currently valued at just £9m by Transfermarkt, less than half of his reported transfer fee when add-ons are included.
That valuation is also a decline from his peak of £15.3m in March 2021, with such a drop off a stark illustration of his struggles in recent times.
There will no doubt be an urgency from the Newcastle powerbrokers to be rid of his £50k-per-week wage, even with the Luton native still having three years left to run on his existing deal.
That contract could mean there is still time to turn things around, although on recent evidence Lewis has already blown his chance, proving to yet another error of the much-maligned Mike Ashley reign.