Steve Bruce should use the ace up his sleeve to see that Newcastle United win the race to sign Blackburn Rovers’ sought-after striker Adam Armstrong this summer.
According to Chronicle Live, Armstrong would be open to making a return to St. James’ Park three years after being sold by Rafa Benitez.
The former Toon boss sanctioned the 24-year-old’s £2m move to Ewood Park in 2018, in a decision that select club staff did not agree with at the time.
As part of the transfer, Newcastle inserted a 40% sell on clause, that would have left Blackburn with a paltry profit had the striker been sold in the January transfer window amid rumours David Moyes weighed up West Ham making an £8m offer.
Rovers are thought to have valued the forward at closer to £30m earlier in the season, but are expected to be more realistic in their appraisal this summer should Tony Mowbray fail to secure promotion into the Premier League.
Armstrong, who left Newcastle on excellent terms with those at the executive level, has less than 18-months remaining on his current Blackburn contract and is said to have been watched by a clutch of clubs from across the Premier League, Europe and Major League Soccer.
The forward has earned his array of potential suitors after thriving in the Championship over the last two seasons, hitting 17 goals in 26 games this term and 16 in 46 across 2019/20. He also fired home once in the EFL Cup earlier in the campaign, to move to within two goals of his career-best return of 20 achieved in 2015/16 while on loan with Coventry in League One.
Yet Mowbray confirmed on Deadline Day last week that his outfit did not receive any official bids, noting via quotes by the Lancashire Telegraph: “Am I surprised? Probably yes. I’m not disappointed, but am I surprised? I thought the phone might have rang.”
Armstrong made his Newcastle debut way back in March 2014 as a fresh-faced 17-year-old, yet was never really given a run in the side whilst Benitez was at the helm with just two appearances under the Spaniard compared to 10 under Alan Pardew between 2014 and ‘15.
The forward never truly hit the ground running when on the field, either, having failed to score in any of his 21 career games for the Magpies, but has clearly come on leaps and bounds since moving to Blackburn Rovers with an increasingly prolific record in front of the net.
Mowbray also lauds Armstrong for his play off the ball for the way it creates obstacles for opponents to overcome, with the 24-year-old proving a menace in the second-tier.
“His explosive pace at the top end of the pitch allows you to play both ways, to not be overly concerned if you’re pinned back around the edge of your box because one pass releases pressure to someone like [Harvey] Elliott to play the pass that he can hit, just leaving it in the space for the speed and dynamic movement of Armstrong – it’s a devastating effect for the team,” the Rovers boss said earlier in the season, via quotes by FourFourTwo.
Bruce would surely benefit greatly from having another option like that at St. James’ Park who can supplement the threat of players like Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron, so should be urging Mike Ashley and Managing Director Lee Charnley to use their 40% sell-on clause to bring the striker back to his boyhood side.
Newcastle may soon be depleted in attack with Dwight Gayle and Andy Carroll both now in the final six-months of their respective contracts, so using the sell-on clause could be particularly beneficial in driving Rovers’ asking price down and saving funds that can be used to sign other options as well.
Neither Gayle nor Carroll are currently playing their way into new deals with just a goal each in the Premier League this term, so United will have to box smart in rebuilding their attack. And only an astronomical asking price should rule Armstrong out of that remodel.
AND in other news, a £47k-p/w colossus is weighing up his future at Newcastle United…