Steve Bruce would be heading for an unforgivable mistake by pursuing a move for outcast Manchester United defender Brandon Williams to join Newcastle in January.
According to The Shields Gazette, the Magpies and Red Devils have agreed on the framework to a half-season loan deal that will see Williams move to St. James’ Park for the remainder of the 2020/21 campaign.
Manchester United club chiefs have granted the England U21 international permission to leave Old Trafford on a temporary agreement after falling out of favour following the summer arrival of Alex Telles and form of Luke Shaw.
Newcastle may yet face further competition for Williams’s signature with a deal yet to be signed off and ratified, but are currently at the front of the queue featuring Southampton, as Bruce strives to secure competition for Jamal Lewis and Matt Ritchie.
Lewis has struggled at times as Bruce’s first-choice left-back since his £15m summer arrival, and could face a fight for his position from former Eintracht Frankfurt loanee Jetro Willems with the Dutchman also said to be under consideration.
Newcastle moving to sign Williams on loan would see Bruce head for an unforgivable mistake, as the £65,000-per-week prospect would be a step in the wrong direction compared to Lewis despite the former Norwich City full-back’s struggles at St. James’ Park.
Williams would arrive on Tyneside completely lacking match fitness, having played just six minutes of Premier League football so far this season beside two brief cameo outings in the Europa League and appearances in the early rounds of the Carabao Cup back in September.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has not named the £10m-rated talent in a league squad since the start of December, either, despite likening the 20-year-old to Gary Neville last year.
“I think he’s been absolutely outstanding since he came in, every challenge we’ve put in front of him he’s tackled head-on. He’s only 19, made 10 or 11 starts but he reminds me so much of the mentality of Gary Neville,” Solskjaer said, via quotes by the Manchester Evening News.
Williams would need to show a great deal of promise in training to move ahead of Lewis in Bruce’s pecking order if signed, as the youngster’s efforts last season were rarely at a higher level than what Newcastle have seen from their summer signing this term.
Williams’ creativity came from 0.3 shots and 0.8 key balls while playing 27.4 accurate passes and delivering 0.2 accurate crosses a game in the Premier League last season, per SofaScore. Defensively, he also made 1.2 successful tackles, 0.9 interceptions, won 3.6 duels and was dribbled past 1.2 times.
Lewis, meanwhile, has averaged 0.3 shots and 0.6 key balls a game in the top-flight since the 22-year-old joined from Norwich, while playing 18.5 accurate passes, 0.8 accurate crosses, making 1.4 successful tackles, 0.5 interceptions, winning 3.1 duels won and has been dribbled past 0.9 times.