The £40,000-a-week South Korean [Spotrac] has struggled for game time under Steve Bruce, making just one start in the Premier League this season, and Waugh has suggested that he could be moved on to clear room in the squad for January signings.
Writing in a Q&A for The Athletic, he said: “If Newcastle are going to make any signings in January, then they need to make room in their 25-man Premier League squad and, with Ki’s contract up at the end of the season, he looks like one of the most likely players to go next month.
“I haven’t heard of anything being imminent, but I do know that some people in and around Newcastle have discussed the possibility of him leaving – and Ki himself would certainly be interested in first-team football if a decent opportunity presents itself.”
This certainly sounds pretty comprehensive. Ki can’t get a look-in at the moment, and when he does, he seems to be struggling to capture his best form. So far this season he has just one start and two substitute appearances to his name in the Premier League, and has averaged a Whoscored rating of just 6.31. On top of that he has just 0.7 key passes and 0.3 tackles per game, and has largely been ineffectual when he has got on the pitch. Make no mistake, there is a quality player in there, but Ki is fighting a real uphill battle these days, especially when you consider the fact that the Magpies have Jonjo Shelvey, Isaac Hayden, and the Longstaff brothers all ahead of him in the pecking order. Consequently, having him leave would be a mutually beneficial piece of business. Not only would it allow Ki to play first team football elsewhere, but it would also free up room in the Toon Army’s 25 man Premier League squad in the January window. It’s a shame, but it’s time for Ki to go.