On-loan Newcastle United left-back Matt Targett is reportedly a summer transfer target for Championship outfit Fulham who look all but set for an instant return to the top-flight.
According to Football League World, the West London outfit are monitoring the happenings of the English left-back who joined Newcastle on loan from Aston Villa for the rest of the season in January.
With Marco Silva’s side 12 points clear of the Championship playoff spots with 12 games to go, the Cottagers look all but set for a return to the Premier League at the first time of asking, having been relegated last season.
Therefore, plans for the English top-tier are already being made and it appears as though Targett, who spent the second half of the 2017/18 campaign on loan at Craven Cottage, is being targeted for a return to Fulham, this time on a permanent basis.
After Aston Villa signed Lucas Digne from Everton in January, Targett immediately requested that he go on loan in order to ensure game time, joining Newcastle for the remainder of the campaign.
It was certainly a surprise, with the left-back subject to a showering of praise from Villa legend Gabby Agbonlahor last season.
“In the last 15 years, he’s the best left-back Villa have had,” said the former striker. “Even during my time and the left-backs I played with, I look at Matt Targett and he’s the best we’ve had in the last 15 years since I made my debut.”
“He’s really comfortable on the ball, if he can continue to put in these performances then there is 100 per cent no reason why he can’t get into the England squad.”
Thus far, the 26-year-old has been a revelation at St.James’ Park, playing every minute for the Magpies bar their 1-0 win over Villa for which the Englishman was ineligible. As a result, he’s certainly lived up to the words that pundit Noel Whelan threw his way after signing, saying: “I think he’ll make a massive difference for them.”
Therefore, if Newcastle fail to sign the defender permanently and he heads elsewhere, it would be nothing short of an early disaster and blunder for their incoming director of football, Dan Ashworth.
With the Toon Army on an excellent run of five wins in their last six, the left-back has been a major contributor and should certainly be in the conversation of a permanent move in the summer.
There have been reports suggesting that the Magpies will look to make Targett’s stay in the North-East permanent, however, it will also be down to who PIF choose to spend their money.
It seems as though the £35k-per-week English left-back’s tenure at Villa Park is over after the arrival of Digne, therefore a permanent move will certainly be possible for either Newcastle or Fulham.
Despite having numerous options there, Newcastle will need to sign a new left-back in the summer, with Paul Dummett, Matt Ritchie and Jamal Lewis the alternatives after Targett.
None of which have impressed this campaign, hence why Howe opted to swoop for the Aston Villa defender. However, it remains to be seen as to whether or not the Newcastle board opt to sign Targett permanently or seek a higher quality, more expensive player.
If the Magpies are keen to keep the 26-year-old, then they will have to stand firm and contest Fulham for the Englishman’s signature on a permanent basis.