Mike Ashley may well be rueing the disastrous outcome of Steve Bruce’s blunderous decision to start Emil Krafth against Arsenal, with the Newcastle United defender now said to be stalling on a January transfer to Istanbul Basaksehir.
According to the Daily Mail, Krafth is now hesitant to the leave Tyneside during the mid-season window as his rare appearance at the Emirates has given him second thoughts.
The 26-year-old had looked likely to have played his final game for the Magpies with a £2.7m move to Super Lig side Istanbul Basaksehir expected to be completed in the coming days.
Krafth had not started a league game since December 12, having returned to the back-up role he occupied throughout much of his maiden season in England last term, with DeAndre Yedlin emerging as Bruce’s favoured option over the festive schedule.
Yet a full 90 minute run out in north London has given Krafth a belief that he can still force his way back into a regular starting role, despite the £5m signing from Amiens SC only featuring in the top-flight on four prior occasions this term.
Krafth is now evaluating his options and will be hoping he gets the nod for Saturday night’s trip to Aston Villa, where Bruce will be striving to end Newcastle’s nine-game winless streak across all competitions.
Ashley will likely have already been frustrated at having to accept an offer worth close to half what Newcastle paid to sign Krafth just 18-months ago, having seen the defender prove time and time again that he is not up to the standard needed in the Premier League.
Yet Bruce’s decision to rest Yedlin at Arsenal and look favourably on Krafth has given the defender confidence that he can still have a future at the club where he earns £57,500-per-week as the fourth-best paid player.
Krafth is bleeding Ashley dry on those terms, that have so far returned just one assist and seen Newcastle record six clean sheets in 29 games across all competitions to date. He was even omitted from the matchday squad at Sheffield United last week entirely, marking the ninth time that Bruce has overlooked his services outside of injuries.
Not many Toon players left north London with much to write home about as Newcastle were comfortably beaten 3-0, and Krafth was certainly one who failed to cover himself in any glory as he frequently held back as the last man whenever Arsenal countered.
And yet Krafth only attempted a single tackle and made one clearance at the Emirates, while playing only one additional accurate pass (20) compared to goalkeeper Karl Darlow (19), per WhoScored.
His efforts ensured Krafth continues to rank joint-last for successful tackles (1.3) per game when fielded at right-back by Bruce in the Premier League this season, and with fewer attempts (1.8) than natural midfielder Jacob Murphy (2.3).
Bruce would have been wise to leave Krafth at home, rather than take him to Arsenal, and show the Sweden international that his future should be in Turkey and not Tyneside.
AND in other news, Newcastle United are being targeted to solve another PL side’s transfer crisis…