On deadline day in January, Howe and Newcastle completed the signing of local lad Burn, who was returning to the club he supported as a kid and where was released during his early years as a footballer.
Burn, who is valued at £10.8 million (as per Transfermarkt), was a key figure in Newcastle’s turnaround in fortunes during the second half of last season, managing to keep six clean sheets in 16 appearances. However, that hasn’t stopped the Magpies from bringing in another left-footed centre-back in the form of Sven Botman.
While many may expect Botman to naturally take Burn’s place in the side, Cronin thinks otherwise based on what Howe’s said to the defender.
The journalist said: “He [Howe] does tend to play with a right-footer and a left-footer at centre-half, but I wouldn’t rule out playing two left-footers because I do understand that Dan Burn has sort of received assurances, if you like, that his place in the team is there to compete for.
Who would you rather start for Newcastle?
“Which is rightly so, because Dan Burn was signed in January and we both agreed he was almost like a stopgap in a way because they couldn’t get Botman in January; tried to get Diego Carlos, couldn’t get him in.
“Dan Burn was sort of the final option, if you like, or the third-choice option, but could Newcastle have signed a better centre-half in hindsight? Probably not, because he fitted into that backline perfectly, so it was no coincidence that he came in and Newcastle’s defence had tightened up with Dan Burn in it.”
TIF Thoughts on Burn’s situation…
It’s an interesting situation at Newcastle, with the £13m January signing potentially being replaced after just a few months on Tyneside despite boasting the fifth-best WhoScored rating in the Magpies’ squad from last season.
Considering how long Newcastle have tracked Botman, coupled with the price paid for the defender, it would be strange for him to then come in and sit on the bench, so it will be interesting to see how Eddie Howe handles the centre-back situation.