Mike Ashley should sanction a new contract for Jacob Murphy as Steve Bruce seeks to keep the Newcastle United forward at St James’ Park long-term.
Via quotes shared by the Shields Gazette, Bruce has revealed his hopes of seeing Murphy put pen to paper and commit his future to the Magpies.
Bruce has awarded Murphy 23 appearances across all competitions this season, starting 12 games including last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur when he shone at full-back in place of Javier Manquillo.
Murphy now has eight more matches to prove to Newcastle that he deserves new terms, but Bruce is eager to see an offer being put on the table.
“I sincerely hope that we tie Jacob Murphy down. He’s been a big plus this season after spending a couple of years [out] on loan,” the Toon manager said.
“He’s played a big part in the season. He’s had, for him, a really good season where he knows now that he belongs in the Premier League.
“I’ve been very, very pleased with him. Moving forward, I’d love to see him at the club. It’s what we want: young, hungry, determined to do well – he ticks all of those boxes.”
Murphy’s run of 12 starts over 23 appearances in all competitions this season is the most the winger has made in black and white since his maiden campaign at St James’ Park in 2017/18. His debut season on Tyneside featured 15 starts over a combined 28 outings, in which he offered one goal and one assist to the two goals and three assists registered so far this term.
The forward’s direct output may not be supreme and offers a glimpse as to why Newcastle rank a lowly 16th in the Premier League’s scoring charts with 30 goals in 30 games, but Bruce has clearly been impressed with Murphy’s overall contributions.
His defensive showing against Tottenham last Sunday featured an abundance of determination to try and prevent Jose Mourinho’s men from scoring, while he offered a lively attacking cameo from the bench against Wolverhampton Wanderers in February.
Murphy again demonstrated his offensive threat from the bench against Aston Villa by teeing up Jamaal Lascelles’ to equalise, and the £25,000-per-week dynamo had come close to scoring himself when he rattled the crossbar after twisting his way into the box.
Those moments offer flashes of the potential that Murphy can deliver when given a chance, which all too often was not there in previous years, and a platform to continue building from if Ashley sanctions a new contract.
Murphy would not be able to demand a lucrative pay rise to put pen to paper given his limited starts and direct goal involvements, which surely makes retaining the forward a no-brainer when funds for potential replacements are expected to be thin – if there at all – this summer.