Newcastle’s academy has produced a number of top talents including the likes of Sean Longstaff and Paul Dummett who have played for the club their entire career, while the likes of Adam Armstrong, Fraser Forster and Tim Krul remain playing English top flight football.
However, they have also in recent years either seen a number of exciting prospects fail to make the grade at St James’ Park – or join bigger teams like Shola Shoretire, who left the club before joining Manchester United, via Manchester City.
One exciting prospect that departed in recent years was centre-back Lewis Gibson, who left Tyneside as a 17-year-old for Everton back in 2017 for a fee of £990k, which according to Liverpool Echo could have or may still reach £6m.
Now aged 21, he has spent the season on-loan at Sheffield Wednesday, but suffered a muscle injury in his second appearance for the club, but his manager Darren Moore has backed him to take his chances at the business end of the season after returning to fitness.
“He gives us that natural balance on the left hand side,” said Moore. “He will only get stronger now and what a time to get him back with this run of games.”
But given his lack of game-time on-loan which has seen him amass just five League One appearances with an average rating of 6.80, the prospect who was once dubbed “the real deal” by his former manager while at Fleetwood Town, Joey Barton, has seen his transfer valuation reach just £450k – a 54.5% decrease which suggests chairman at the time Mike Ashley made a good decision to sell him.
A pathway to Premier League football at Everton now seems very improbable, with fellow left-footer and younger homegrown centre-back Jarrad Branthwaite now a first team squad member, and blocking any real pathway to the first team for the former Magpie – who has averaged under one tackle, interception and clearance per game this campaign.
Meanwhile in the North East, manager Eddie Howe has just signed Dan Burn for the left side of his centre-back pairing, but has a substantial shortlist for the Summer, with Sven Botman one of the names at the top of it – and for them to receive almost a million for Gibson’s services, the fee could have covered a quarter of star keeper Martin Dubravka’s £3.6m move.