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Newcastle closing in on Harrison Ashby swoop

Newcastle United could well be set to wrap up another deal in the New Year, amid reports that West Ham United youngster Harrison Ashby is destined for a move to St James’ Park.

What’s the word?

That’s according to Hammers insider, Claret and Hugh, who suggested that the 21-year-old now ‘looks certain’ to join Eddie Howe’s side in 2023, with the switch either set to take place in the January window or when his contract expires at the end of the season.

The promising right-back has seemingly informed those at the London Stadium that he is keen to join the northeast side, with there seemingly ‘no chance’ of the Scotland youth international staying with the Irons.

The Milton Keynes-born gem had previously been heavily linked with the Tynesiders on deadline day over the summer, while more recent reports have also suggested that the defender is still a target for sporting director Dan Ashworth, alongside Leeds United’s Cody Drameh.

‘Fearless’ talent

Newcastle have already wrapped up one deal ahead of the upcoming winter window, with Australian teenager Garang Kuol having completed his switch from A-League side Central Coast Mariners back in September.

That move for the 18-year-old – who is currently representing his country at the World Cup – comes amid what appears to be a push to recruit up-and-coming talent, with the aforementioned Ashworth having previously stated:

“Our philosophy is to invest in our Academy and in exciting young players for the future, as well as in players required to make an immediate impact in the first team.”

In the case of Ashby, the emerging ace could well be someone who is both a player for the long-term, but can also make an impact at senior level straight away, with Howe seemingly in need of a better fit to provide quality backup for first-choice pick, Kieran Trippier.

Sweden international Emil Krafth is currently still on the treatment table after suffering an ACL injury, while Javier Manquillo has seemingly been surplus to requirements of late, with the Spaniard making just two appearances in league and cup so far this term.

That has ensured that the West Ham gem could well take the place as Trippier’s understudy and potentially replace the experienced Englishman in the coming years, with the “fearless” talent – as described by podcaster Sam Delaney – seemingly set for a bright future in the game.

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While the 5 foot 10 ace has made only seven appearances at first-team level for David Moyes’ side, he has more than made his mark at U21 level of late, recording an impressive return of three goals and ten assists in 41 games at that age group.

The one-time Chelsea youth product could well be the type of talent that Howe is able to nurture over the next few years, with the Magpies seemingly in need of a younger fit in the squad at right-back.

For all the importance of signing high-profile, established names to bolster the starting XI, securing highly-rated and fearless prospects such as Kuol and Ashby could well be just as important for Newcastle’s long-term project.