Former England international Rob Lee, while speaking exclusively with FootballFanCast, has claimed Newcastle United will be interested in a January loan deal for Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Harry Winks.
Winks has grown disgruntled at being a bit-part player in north London this season and is ready to discuss a loan move away from the club with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, fearing a lack of game time will hinder his chances of being named in Gareth Southgate’s England squad.
Jose Mourinho has rarely trusted the 24-year-old with occupying a regular role in his plans so far this term, with Winks starting just three Premier League fixtures and not playing a single minute since October.
Mourinho would not have named Winks in his 18-man matchday squad for last weekend’s north London Derby had it not been for a late injury to Tanguy Ndombele, which marked the Spurs product’s return to the fold for only the second time since facing West Ham United.
Winks may be denied a move away from Tottenham in the upcoming window with Levy more inclined to sanction a winter exit for Dele Alli, who has similarly been shunned this season, making eight outings across all competitions.
Everton have been linked with a potential bid to sign Winks on loan in January should he leave Spurs, though Lee – who made 267 Premier League appearances for Newcastle – believes his former side will also be keen.
“Harry Winks is a good player, very good player. Because [Pierre-Emile] Hojbjerg has come in, where do you play him? That’s the problem,” Lee told FootballFanCast.
“He seems to like Hojbjerg and [Moussa] Sissoko’s done very well; he’s that sort of player where he’s big, strong, he works, got a great engine and they seem to work well together.
“So, there’s no room really for Harry Winks to play. But if Spurs want to get rid of him for a little while, then I’m sure Newcastle will be interested in him because he’s a top player.”
Newcastle were linked with a move to sign Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka last winter amid doubt over his long-term future at the Emirates, after the Switzerland international swore at his own supporters whilst they jeered his substitution and threw the captain’s armband to the ground.
Xhaka bounced back following a change in manager at the north London side, with Mikel Arteta offering the 28-year-old a new lease of life and minutes in all but four of his 31 Premier League fixtures at the helm to date.
Winks is yet to be offered an olive branch by Mourinho at Tottenham and may urge Levy to sanction a move in January, opening the door for Bruce to strike amid claims the Newcastle boss will be active in the loan market and suggestions he will target a box-to-box midfielder.
Whether or not Bruce targets Winks remains to be seen, though in doing so he could acquire an eight-cap England international desperate to prove himself to Southgate.