With both Danny Rose and Jetro Willems returning to their parent clubs after their loan spells at St James’ Park this season, Newcastle United have been left in a position where there is a gaping hole in the squad at left back.
Matt Ritchie has covered in the role for several seasons but showed from his performances at right midfield, where he both scored and assisted, that he is more suited to an advanced position. Additional evidence comes in the form of Ritchie’s average match rating, 7.15 at left back, increasing to 7.42 on the right side of midfield.
Meanwhile, Paul Dummett is a reliable left sided centre back who lacks the pace to influence a game at both ends while on the left channel. However, Newcastle target Ryan Sessegnon has proven in the past to be adept at effecting proceedings in both boxes when deployed at left back, and Steve Bruce should do his utmost to tempt the 20-year-old away from Tottenham Hotspur.
This term Sessegnon started just four Premier League matches, making a meagre ten starts in all competitions for Spurs. However, he was still able to impress in the Champions League, registering an assist against Red Star Belgrade and a goal against Bayern Munich, both in the group stages.
In his second English top-flight campaign, he failed to sustain his impressive two goals and six assists for Fulham, which dropped from an audacious 16 goals and eight assists during the 2017/18 Championship campaign. However, his decline in the top-flight could be attributed to his lack of opportunities which saw him make 29 fewer appearances in the Premier League last term, compared to Fulham’s disastrous 2018/19 season.
Only a year ago Sessegnon arrived at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for £25m; nevertheless, it has been reported that the left back is top of Bruce’s targets for the summer transfer window. With no other natural left backs at his disposal, Bruce must attempt to lure Sessegnon to St James’ Park under the promise that he will feature significantly more frequently than his four Premier League starts last term.
The primary concern for the Magpies may be that now the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund has pulled out of the takeover, Bruce is expected to have just £35m, plus player sales, to spend this window. Regardless, if Newcastle can balance the books and bring in the 20-year-old, they should not hesitate to do so.