This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
Newcastle are in contract talks with four first-team players, with a new deal believed to be close for Jonjo Shelvey, according to the Daily Star.
The Magpies have been busy on the transfer front in recent days. Steve Bruce is believed to have drawn up a shortlist of possible incomings while Martin Dubravka recently signed a contract extension that will keep him at the club until 2025.
Now, the likes of Isaac Hayden, Fabian Schar and Matt Ritchie are involved in negotiations, with each player’s current deal set to expire in 2021.
Shelvey is another whose contract has just over 18 months left to run, but with reported interested from West Ham and Crystal Palace over the summer, the club is probably more eager to get his future sorted.
He showed his desire to play for the club upon his recall to the side against the Hammers last weekend, and if he displays that high level of performance on a consistent basis then many Toon fans will be happy at his proposed longer stay in the north-east.
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While some fans will be hoping for ambition in the transfer market over the coming months, it is wise to maintain a strong core of consistent performers, though of the four Shelvey is probably the worst fit into that category.
He has undoubted quality and has shown that at each of the clubs he has been at – his long-range free-kick against West Ham a fine demonstration of what he offers the side when at the top of his game.
Too often this season he has flattered to deceive and faltered in what is meant to be his best aspect, with a pass accuracy of just 78%. That led Bruce to drop him in favour of Matty Longstaff, but he responded well in his return on Saturday, and is now the Magpies’ top scorer with two goals.
It could prove to be a clever move from Bruce, who has proved throughout his career that man management is one of his best attributes. He has provided the “human touch” to handle Shelvey effectively, get the best out of him, and put an end to his inconsistency which is reflected by his WhoScored average rating of 6.8.
At his best, Shelvey could be a commanding player for Toon. In his first full season on Tyneside he averaged 7.2 successful long balls per game, and a repeat of that would suit the likes of Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin, who can use their pace to run in behind opposition defences.
That is the kind of quality Newcastle need and should expect from Shelvey, and if he can begin delivering it on a regular basis once more then he will be well worth his contract extension.