Newcastle are prioritising a move for a central midfielder in the January window, according to journalist Craig Hope.
Jonjo Shelvey has picked up an injury which is expected to keep him out for six to eight weeks, and Newcastle could explore the market for additional bodies as a result.
In the last three windows they have brought in Joe Willock and Bruno Guimaraes for substantial fees, whilst Joelinton, who was bought as a forward, found new life in a midfield role.
Speaking on his Patreon, Hope highlighted the use of central midfielders in wide areas as a lack of depth in the centre, with most of the senior available options currently starting.
“Central midfield is absolutely now the priority in terms of having a starting player recruited in January and that is because they start with three midfielders,” he stated.
“It’s not like they play with two. And at the moment, they’ve got five central midfielders on their books. But one of those is out injured until the end of February – Jonjo Shelvey; one of them is currently playing on the left wing – Joelinton, and playing out of his skin, you wouldn’t move him.
“The other three are playing by default. I say by default, they’re playing wonderfully well. They’re in the team on merit, but even if they were playing badly, they’d be in the team because there’s no one else to put in there.
“So central midfield, I’m told, is the priority for January.”
TIF thoughts on Newcastle’s central midfielders…
Newcastle’s current midfield options are Guimaraes, Willock, Sean Longstaff and Joelinton. With Joelinton recently taking a role on the wing, bench options for the midfield three are non-existent whilst Shelvey is out.
However, should he need to, Eddie Howe can move Joelinton back to the centre, and bring in a winger such as Ryan Fraser, or the recently returned Allan Saint-Maximin, so it would not be a crisis if there is another absence.
Shelvey has made just five appearances this season as a result of the form of the three central midfielders, so the club would have to bring in someone special to oust any of them from the starting XI.