Mike Ashley should sanction a summer swoop for Newcastle United to sign Norwich City playmaker Todd Cantwell and acquire a second Allan Saint-Maximin type.
According to Football League World, the Magpies are monitoring Cantwell’s situation at Carrow Road as they are keen to bring the 23-year-old to St. James’ Park at the end of the season.
Cantwell will enter the final year of his £16,000-per-week contract in June, and is expected to be one of the more sought-after players should the England U21 international not agree on a new deal with the Canaries.
Cantwell’s future in Norfolk is likely to hinge heavily on Daniel Farke leading Norwich to an automatic return to the Premier League, with the midfielder anticipated to prioritise a top-flight future after his promising 2019/20 campaign.
Newcastle remaining a Premier League side will also be a factor in the Tyneside outfit making a move for Cantwell, as well, with his services unlikely to be explored should Steve Bruce fail to maintain the Toon’s current status.
Tottenham Hotspur are also noted to hold an interest in Cantwell, who Leeds United had sought to sign ahead of the current season but refused to up their £15m offer to meet Norwich’s alleged £20m valuation.
It remains to be seen how highly Norwich will value their academy product in the next off-season, and what impact promotion will have on Cantwell’s future, with Farke’s side currently 10 points clear at the top of the Championship table.
Cantwell has started 19 of his 22 second-tier outings this term, scoring four goals and providing four assists while deployed as a left-midfielder for 90% of his outings to date.
There is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding Cantwell’s future as Norwich look set to secure an immediate return to the Premier League, with Farke’s men on a seven-game winning run to put distance between themselves and promotion rivals Watford, Swansea City and Brentford.
Newcastle are well and truly in the Premier League relegation dogfight, too, with Bruce’s side just a point above 18th-place Fulham and the drop zone, albeit with a game in hand, having won just two of their last 16 top-flight fixtures.
But should United limp through their final 11 games and stay in the Premier League for another year, Ashley should sanction a move for Cantwell, even though funds are expected to be small.
Doing so could see Ashley bring a second Saint-Maximin type to St. James’ Park, for Cantwell is showing in the second-tier the quick-footed and fast-thinking style that the Magpies star displays week in, week-out in black and white.
Working in small pockets of space to good effect was exactly what Saint-Maximin thrived at against Wolverhampton Wanderers last month, having produced a great piece of skill to take on three players and set up Joe Willock before later sustaining a groin injury.
Cantwell – who Darren Huckerby once lauded for always being “the most gifted” player in any side he played for – also found it within himself to bounce back from a complex 2020, having taken responsibility for Norwich’s relegation to go on and lead their promotion push.
If the chance to sign Cantwell is there for Newcastle this summer, Ashley must dig deep into his pocket and present the funds United need to strike a deal for a young, hungry, English talent like this.
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