Newcastle United now have less than two weeks to complete their transfer business and with plenty of large holes still to fill, it seems an uphill task for their new owners, PIF, and the club’s recruitment team.
Unfortunately, life isn’t getting any easier for those behind the scenes with the Magpies dealt regular blows in their quest to land their primary targets.
This has been a troubling January window for Eddie Howe’s side, even if they have managed to acquire Chris Wood from Burnley and more impressively, Kieran Trippier from La Liga holders Atletico Madrid.
An improved offer could yet see a deal go through but according to The Athletic’s Chris Waugh, a move would appear to be complicated.
He told readers in a Q&A: “At this stage, it is unclear whether the 29-year-old would actually be willing to join Newcastle, be it on loan or permanently, with reports claiming Lingard is keen to return to London, and with some sources claiming he would expect to receive significantly more than Newcastle’s highest earners.
“Also, just as Newcastle were rebuffed when they made tentative contact about loaning Dean Henderson, the goalkeeper, there is a suspicion that Manchester United may keep hold of Lingard and other fringe players due to a fear that another [virus] outbreak could deplete their resources.”
Although the defence remains a key area for Newcastle to strengthen, it’s incredibly vital they add more creativity and goals to their armoury this winter too.
After all, without the ability to score goals on a regular basis, they will continue to sink further towards the Championship.
The arrival of Wood should undoubtedly help their offensive line look more menacing but the supply line behind him is still missing a touch of spice.
As a result, a player as dynamic and magical as Lingard would do the trick, certainly on a loan deal where limited finances would be expended.
The England international proved what a success he can be in the top-flight this time last year when he joined West Ham in a temporary move that was a roaring triumph.
Keeping that in mind, it will be a great shame if Newcastle fail to land him before the window slams shut and Howe will be particularly frustrated too.