Mike Ashley’s reluctance to sanction any permanent transfers this January will see Newcastle United miss out on forging a winter reunion with Blackburn Rovers striker Adam Armstrong.
According to The Northern Echo, the Toon will focus their January plans on the loan market as Ashley is opposed to committing to any major outlays while he strives to resurrect a deal with Amanda Staveley’s Saudi Arabia-backed consortium to sell the club.
The Magpies will be active in the market looking to improve Steve Bruce’s side, but will only approach Manchester United over a deal for Phil Jones if the Old Trafford natives cover a per cent of his wages, alleged to be around £100,000-per-week, until the end of the season.
Ashley refusing to put his hand in his pocket could also see Bruce miss out on an idyllic winter reinforcement amid plans to sign a striker, as Blackburn CEO Steve Waggott has decreed that Armstrong will only leave Ewood Park this winter if they receive offers worth between £25m and £30million.
“If, say, for example, Leeds United phoned us up in late December, early January saying we have £25m-£30m for Adam Armstrong then I would say to the owners here’s an offer we need to consider,” Waggott told Lancs Live last month.
“But the key is, who is coming in for Adam Armstrong if you sell him? How are you going to use the £30m? Yes, you could use some towards operational losses, but how are you going to build out from losing a player of that magnitude?”
Newcastle sold Armstrong to Rovers in 2018 for a mere £1.75m, though would be due a per cent of any fee through a sell-on clause amid claims the striker would be a perfect option for Brighton and Hove Albion as Graham Potter looks to add more firepower at the Amex.
If Newcastle’s interest in re-signing Armstrong is true and Ashley will refuse to pay out for the striker amid hopes of resurrecting a sale, Toon fans will have another reason to never forgive the North East giant’s owner.
Armstrong, who Waggott has compared with Alan Shearer, is lighting the Championship on fire this season with his 14 goals in 16 games coming from a mammoth 82 shots, of which 39 have been on target, per WhoScored.
AFC Bournemouth’s Dominic Solanke is the next-best performing striker in the second-tier for shots taken so far this season with 53 in 17 games, while ranking second only to Armstrong for on-target efforts, as well, with 23 finding the mark.
Newcastle are starved of offensive options able to contribute anywhere near the same levels as Armstrong, with Callum Wilson leading the scoring charts with seven of the Magpies’ 12 Premier League goals yet only taking a team-high 18 shots.
Joelinton has struck the Toon’s second-most efforts (12) and second-most on-target (5), but only accounts for a single goal thus far – the same as Jacob Murphy and Jeff Hendrick who have taken six and seven shots apiece.
Bruce will struggle to find a striker available on loan in the January window able to offer a vast improvement on his current options and will rue the day Ashley said no to Newcastle reuniting with Armstrong, as they potentially watch him excel elsewhere in the Premier League.