A Premier League star Newcastle retain strong interest in could be tempted into switching sides, especially with his place now under threat from the league’s most in-form star prior to the World Cup break, per one observer.
If the domestic season were to finish right now, Eddie Howe would be among the favourites to secure the manager of the season award.
Mikel Arteta would be in the running given Arsenal top the table, as would Marco Silva who has his Fulham side in the top half despite many predicting they were relegation fodder.
The Magpies were always expected to turn the ‘big six’ into a ‘big seven’, though few anticipated it would happen to quickly.
Key to their rapid rise has been Howe’s superb management, as well as a masterful approach in the transfer market.
Newcastle have broken their transfer record upon signing Alexander Isak. However, the bulk of their buys have been affordable stars with many already boasting Premier League experience.
Nick Pope, Dan Burn and Kieran Trippier have all shone and all fit that billing. As such, it came as no surprise to see Newcastle pursue Leeds Utd winger, Jack Harrison, over the summer.
Howe wanted another dimension to his forward line and liked what he saw in the 26-year-old. However, despite strong interest including a reported £20m bid, the plug was pulled after Leeds stuck a £40m valuation on their wide man.
Yet speaking exclusively to TEAMtalk, transfer insider, Graeme Bailey, suggested a move for Harrison could be reignited in January.
Newcastle won’t stand still in January
Bailey told us: “Another forward to play on the left is very much an option.
“They loved Jack Harrison in the summer, but his price was way above their valuation. They could increase their offer, but only if he rounds into form.”
The last comment is in reference to Harrison’s form tailing off prior to the World Cup break. During that time, Harrison also lost his customary left wing role to Leeds sensation, Crysencio Summerville. Harrison was subsequently deployed out of position on the right.
The 21-year-old Summerville was in red-hot form of late, scoring in each of his last four league matches for the Whites. What’s more, with summer recruit Luis Sinisterra back from injury when domestic football resumes, Harrison may find himself dropped to the bench.
In direct response to Bailey’s assessment of Newcastle and Harrison, former EPL defender, Alan Hutton, suggested Harrison may now look more favourably on a move to Newcastle than he did last summer.
Indeed, if the Magpies do lodge a new bid in January, for example, Hutton reckons it’s something he’ll strongly consider, especially given Newcastle could be playing Champions League football next season.
Jack Harrison will want a piece of Newcastle – Hutton
Hutton told Football Insider: “I think if Newcastle come calling, somewhere that you can see what they are doing they are trying to build something, you would definitely want to be a part of that.
“I think from a Leeds point of view, they are still in a position that they are on the edge. I do not think that they would want to get rid of a player like that, even though Summerville has come in and done really well.
“I think it is healthy to have that competition. To have more than one player available for the position.
“When you are used to playing week in week out and then you lose your spot, the only thing you want to do is get back playing.
“So it is probably something that he will be thinking about.“