Lee Charnley should take action to see Newcastle United seal a summer transfer for Kyle Joseph amid doubt in Rangers’ interest in the Wigan Athletic striker.
According to Football Insider, Steven Gerrard’s Gers may back out of the race to sign Joseph after Glasgow rivals Celtic made a formal approach.
The Hoops are understood to have offered the 19-year-old prospect a long-term contract in hopes of convincing him of a move to Parkhead once the striker’s Latics deal expires in June.
Joseph rejected the offer of a new contract at the DW Stadium, and will now be available to the Premiership heavyweights for a compensation fee of just £300,000 due to cross-border rules on out-of-contract players aged under 24.
Newcastle would have to pay closer to £1m as they do not benefit from the same cross-border rules, and may also have to fend off rival interest from other English suitors.
The Toon were previously considered to be the favourites for the highly-rated teenager’s signature after presenting Joseph with a more lucrative contract offer than Celtic.
Newcastle also held promising discussions with his League One side and were willing to pay £850,000 to seal a deal, as club chiefs believe the striker has the potential to push for a first-team role.
Tottenham Hotspur were previously said to be making checks on Joseph’s situation as they lined up a pre-contract offer, as well, while Arsenal weighed up a move with a view to the London-born forward joining their Under 23s.
Rangers potentially backing out of the race to sign Joseph will come as a huge boost for Newcastle with one less competitor to beat out, but the Toon may yet miss out to Celtic despite presenting the teen forward with a more lucrative contract.
A clear route to the first-team is what Magpies Managing Director Charnley is likely to need to put in front of Joseph if United are to secure his services as he’s gotten a taste of senior action at Wigan this season.
Joseph only made his senior Latics debut in October, but the Scotland U19 international already has five goals in 16 appearances – including a hat-trick to help seal a 4-3 away win over Burton Albion.
Unfortunately for the Wigan product – who manager Leam Richardson lauds for being an “intelligent” player – Joseph sustained a serious back injury in February that is likely to rule him out for much of the remainder of the campaign.
But Joseph had done enough before the blow to earn widespread interest, with Barnsley seeing a £500,000 bid rejected in January, while Richardson waxed lyrical over the “work in progress” after scoring with two “absolutely fantastic finishes” against Burton.
If Newcastle consider Joseph to have the potential to make a first-team role for himself at St. James’ Park in the future, Charnley needs to take the appropriate action swiftly and capitalise on the boost Rangers may present.