Speculation has been rife regarding the possible transfers Newcastle could pull off in the January window following PIF’s takeover of the club.
The likes of Raheem Sterling, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Timo Werner are just a few of the many names linked with a switch to St James’ Park after Mike Ashley sold the club to the Saudi Arabian consortium.
However, the focus must now be drawn to the players who could lose their game-time as a result of incoming transfers as it would be beneficial to have some out the door before bringing in new arrivals, due to limitations on the size of the squad and preserving harmony among the group.
One player who should be sold in the January window is midfielder Jonjo Shelvey. The 29-year-old has been a liability for Newcastle in the middle of the park and should be replaced by PIF, or whoever the manager is come the opening of the transfer market, with an upgrade in that position being signed instead.
Whilst Shelvey has the silky skills on the ball and the ability to switch the play with his excellent range of passing, he often lets himself down with a lack of work off the ball and his poor decision-making. Despite playing in central midfield, he has a career average of just 0.9 interceptions and 1.2 tackles per game, showing that he does not put the hard graft in defensively.
He has picked up 27 yellow cards and four reds during his time at St James’ Park, with the latest dismissal coming in last weekend’s 3-2 defeat to Tottenham. Shelvey was brought off the bench by Bruce to help rescue the game and instead ended up being sent off for two silly challenges, giving his teammates a taller mountain to climb.
In two Premier League appearances this season, racking up 94 minutes of play, the former Liverpool man has completed one tackle, made zero interceptions, blocks or clearances and received three yellows cards, with two of them leading to a red on Sunday. On the ball, he has not been his useful self either, as he failed to complete a single dribble and provided just one key pass.
Tellingly, the 29-year-old has recorded the lowest average WhoScored rating of anyone in the Magpies’ squad this season with a paltry 5.22, being by far the worst player in a team occupying a place in the Premier League relegation zone. That does not paint a pretty picture of his form.
With Steve Bruce reportedly set to be sacked, the £70k-per-week dud’s time at St James’ Park could also be up after his dismal cameo appearance against Spurs. If Newcastle’s next manager was watching that game, he may have already jotted down a mental note to get rid of Shelvey at the first possible opportunity.
He proved himself to be a liability and that is not the sort of character or player you want to have around when trying to rebuild the club to lead them into a future of positivity and success. Therefore, it could be time for the Magpies to ruthlessly axe Shelvey by cashing in on him in the next transfer window, based on both his style of play generally and his disciplinary record, which was highlighted against Tottenham.