The mood on Tyneside has dramatically soured after the confirmation that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund pulled out of the deal to take a majority shareholding at St James’ Park. In the wake of the failed bid to change ownership at Newcastle United, Steve Bruce must navigate a shortened transfer window before a quick turnaround to next season, with just £35m, plus any funds generated from player sales, as his kitty during the summer window.
One name who has been linked with a move to the northeast is Norwich City centre back Ben Godfrey, but the Magpies should not pursue the defender given their current circumstances. It has been touted that the Englishman would cost £30m. However, Bayer Leverkusen and AC Milan are reportedly also interested in acquiring his services, which could lead to a bidding war Newcastle cannot afford to be embroiled in.
Furthermore, centre back is probably the area of Bruce’s squad with the most depth, with the likes of Jamaal Lascelles, Federico Fernandes, Fabian Schar, Florian Lejeune and Paul Dummett, and significant investment is not required.
However, other areas of the squad such as centre forward and left back are crying out for reinforcements and must be focused on. Dwight Gayle finished as the Magpies’ highest-scoring striker last term on a measly four goals, while there is currently no natural left back in the squad.
Meanwhile, Godfrey, despite some impressive individual performances, was part of the Premier League’s leakiest defence last season as the Canaries shipped an astonishing 75 goals. Daniel Farke’s side conceded an average of 1.9 goals per game in the top-flight last term, which is a blemish on the 22-year-old centre back’s record.
Additionally, Godfrey made just 0.8 interceptions, and 0.7 tackles per match for the Premier League’s bottom-placed side last term. Of all the Newcastle central defenders, only Lascelles made fewer tackles per 90 minutes, 0.6, and every central defender in the Magpies’ squad completed more interceptions than the Canaries defender.
Considering Norwich City’s diabolical performances in the division on their way to finishing last in the 2019/20 campaign, Newcastle should not move for Godfrey. The Englishman would take up almost the entirety of Bruce’s reported £35m transfer budget and add to an area which is not a priority for improvement.