Newcastle United are reportedly set to battle with another Premier League club for the signature of Derby Country midfielder Jason Knight this summer.
The Magpies have yet to add to their squad in the off-season. Owner Mike Ashley continues to keep to a strict budget, leaving manager Steve Bruce to look for bargain buys and loans. But the boss has yet to bring a single new face to St James’ Park as the new campaign approaches.
That might be about to change. According to the Irish Examiner, the Magpies are keen on the 20-year-old schemer.
He has been with the Rams for four years after moving from Cabinteely in 2017. The Dubliner spent two years in the club’s youth teams before making his senior debut in August 2019.
He has seen plenty of action despite his tender years, with 20 starts among 31 Championship appearances in 2019-20. And he enjoyed 43 second-tier outings last term, scoring twice to add to the six he bagged in his debut season.
Derby finished just above the relegation places after a woeful showing. Knight was a standout player, however, and manager Wayne Rooney handed him the captaincy on occasions.
And the former England star revealed just what he thought of the youngster back in January.
“He’s a manager’s dream,” he said. “He gives everything. He’s great for the younger and older lads to take note of, but I still want more from him.
“But in terms of what we’re trying to build, he deserves the armband, whether he’s 19 or 30.”
Two-way tussle for Knight
While Newcastle appear keen on the Republic of Ireland international, Burney have also been linked. Clarets manager Sean Dyche has, to date, paid just one fee for a new recruit this summer, with Nathan Collins arriving from Stoke.
Defender Jacob Bedeau and goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey were secured on free transfers. But they are also in the mix for Knight, per the report.
The Lancashire club finished 17th in the standings in 2020-2021. However, they ended up 11 points clear of Fulham in 18th and it was a stress-free run-in.
Dyche will not want his side to be in the same spot come next May and needs some quality in his ranks. Knight would certainly provide that.
Leeds were linked in the winter and there are said to be other clubs interested as well. It is not known if Rooney is prepared to let him go but he is a player with a big future.