Newcastle United are closing in on the signing of Galway United starlet Alex Murphy.
Writing on Twitter, The Northern Echo’s Scott Wilson reported: “#NUFC win battle to sign teenage defender Alex Murphy – with Irish full-back set to leave Galway United and move to Tyneside in the summer…”
In a follow-up article, he added: “Murphy will leave Irish side Galway United to move to Tyneside in the summer, once he turns 18, and is set to join Newcastle’s development ranks.
“The 17-year-old, who is primarily regarded as a left-back, joined Galway United from Corrib Celtic, and has been attracting attention from scouts from right across Europe in the last few months.”
“Torino and Celtic are understood to have made contact with his representatives, with Brighton also having been linked with a possible move, but Newcastle have won the battle to secure his signature.”
Versatile enough to play at both left-back and centre-back, Murphy has been a regular presence for Galway since the start of the League of Ireland season earlier this year, playing seven games and registering one assist.
The 17-year-old has also broken onto the scene at international level, playing for the Republic of Ireland’s under-18s, while also featuring most recently for the under-19s in their European Championship qualifiers against Portugal and Armenia just last month.
Having seen his club play a vital role in Murphy’s early development, Corrib Celtic’s chairman Jack Barrett raved about the teenager’s work ethic.
He said: “Corrib Celtic were aware from an early stage that we had a huge talent on our hands. I often witnessed Alex’s determination and strive to make himself better. On a lot of occasions off-season I would visit our grounds with nobody around and next thing witness Alex arrive on a bike on his own, with two footballs, to spend the next three hours practicing free-kicks and all the other skills of the game.
“This shows a real attitude to go further in the game. All in all, Galway United have the real deal on their hands.”
While Newcastle fans will be excited to see the prospect of big-money signings and marquee arrivals this summer, Murphy’s move to Tyneside should have Eddie Howe delighted, with the teenager no doubt someone who could very much become part of the club’s future.
Already gaining valuable experience at first-team level with Galway United, Murphy should find a home in the Magpies’ academy sides as Wilson has suggested, with a view to integrating him into the senior setup sooner rather than later if he really showcases his talent and potential.
The 5 foot 11 starlet could be a part of the long-term project at St James’ Park for Newcastle.