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Newcastle’s key transfer focus revealed by Chris Waugh

Newcastle are in need of reinforcements throughout the squad this month and The Athletic have revealed that signing a midfielder is high on Steve Bruce’s agenda.

What’s the word?

Injury has plagued the Magpies in recent weeks with Dwight Gayle and Paul Dummett forced off against Wolves, and considering the lack of firepower in attack journalist Chris Waugh has suggested that the club is keen to recruit a striker and a winger – with RB Leipzig’s Ademola Lookman heavily linked.

As well as that, Waugh writes that Bruce is determined to sign a central midfielder with the Magpies boss dissatisfied with his current options in that area.

With Ki Sung-Yeung the most likely player to leave having featured for just 173 minutes this season – including falling below youngster Matty Longstaff in the pecking order – it makes the need to strengthen even greater, though the Athletic reports that Bruce is keen to add to his options regardless of whether the South Korean leaves.

Right focus

There are a few problem positions in the Newcastle squad currently, some of which have been harmed through the recent absences, but Bruce is taking the right approach by focusing on attack and centre midfield.

Jonjo Shelvey has been in good form for most of the season with five goals scored and an average of 1.7 key passes per game, which is evidence of Bruce’s good work, but his injury has hindered Newcastle.

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They have failed to win in three attempts without the former Swansea player, including a visit to League One Rochdale, while two goals in the same period indicates they do not possess the same attacking strength without him.

Isaac Hayden’s absence last weekend meant Newcastle had to rely on the youthful pair of the Longstaff brothers, too.

Although it is a positive that the youngsters are getting game time, it is expecting a little too much of the duo to perform on a consistent basis considering Sean Longstaff and Matty Longstaff have just 18 and five Premier League starts respectively.

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Added to that, behind Shelvey the next best midfielder has an average of 0.9 key passes per game, which underlines the need to add creativity to the squad. After all, the Magpies hang precariously close to the relegation zone – sitting five points clear – and therefore Bruce must make good on his aim to add a midfielder.

Elsewhere, the form of one key player should show Bruce that he doesn’t need to sign a player who has been heavily linked with the club.

Article title: Newcastle’s key transfer focus revealed by Chris Waugh

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