A pundit thinks Newcastle United could look to replace Jonjo Shelvey in the near future and has named a ‘standout’ player who would do a brilliant job in their midfield.
Shelvey came through Charlton Athletic’s academy before making his first-team debut for the club in April 2008. He would play 49 times for Charlton, scoring eight goals, before Liverpool came in for him in 2010.
The central midfielder went on to make 69 appearances for Liverpool, either side of a loan spell at Blackpool. He was sold by the Reds three years after his arrival at Anfield, as Swansea paid £5.2million for him.
Shelvey has been at Newcastle since January 2016. Last season, the six-cap England international featured in 25 matches in all competitions.
Eddie Howe gave him the captain’s armband towards the end of the season after deciding to leave usual skipper Jamaal Lascelles on the bench.
Shelvey, now 30, appears to be an important part of Howe’s plans going forward. That’s despite them having the finances to bring in top-class midfielders such as Bruno Guimaraes.
But pundit Noel Whelan reckons the Magpies may decide to sign a better player in Shelvey’s position in the next few years.
And the former striker tipped Southampton ace James Ward-Prowse to excel at St James’ Park.
James Ward-Prowse backed to replace Jonjo Shelvey
“I think when you’re looking at upgrades, and you’re looking at Jonjo Shelvey, he’s (Ward-Prowse) more of a box-to-box,” Whelan told Football Insider.
“He’s aggressive in midfield, he’s got that set-piece speciality I don’t think Jonjo Shelvey has consistently.
“I think he gets you more goals and wins you more games, if you’re going to ask me who fits better in that midfield.
“I think he’s a fantastic player, I really do. Every time I see him for England, he doesn’t look out of place, he looks calm and collected.
“If you’re looking at a standout player in a certain team, well he’s head and shoulders in those Southampton ranks.
“I do believe that these are the sort of signings Newcastle have been sensible about. They’re going for players that, realistically, can improve their team, but they can also get through the door.
“This is them, again, progressing and building a really competitive side in this Premier League.”
Ward-Prowse would certainly be a fantastic signing for Newcastle. He is picking up international experience with England and is also one of the best free-kick takers in Premier League history.
However, Newcastle may struggle to capture the 27-year-old from St Mary’s. Aston Villa made a £25million bid for him last summer, only for it to be immediately rejected.
And Ward-Prowse now has a contract with Southampton which lasts until 2026, which means they don’t have to sell any time soon.
Howe can already utilise Shelvey, Guimaraes and Joelinton in midfield, among others. Perhaps it would be better for the Magpies to improve other positions before replacing Shelvey in a few years’ time.