Newcastle United’s transfer focus this summer switched after the Saudi Arabian backed consortium which bid to takeover the club pulled out of the deal. Instead, now the Magpies must find bargains in the market, and it appears Steve Bruce has already begun his search, with the Magpies linked to former Burnley player turned free agent, Jeff Hendrick.
Central midfield is an area where the Toon require reinforcements as academy graduate Matty Longstaff departed when his contract expired this summer and Nabil Bentaleb returning to Schalke once his loan move in the northeast expired.
Hendrick arrived at Turf Moor in 2016 and was the Clarets’ record signing at the time, costing Sean Dyche’s side £10.5m. However, due to the Premier League’s hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic, Burnley appeared reluctant to extend contracts with several senior players and Hendrick was one of many who departed.
AC Milan as well as AS Roma were believed to be interested in the Irish international, but Newcastle are in the driving seat to secure the 28-year-old’s signature. He has a wealth of Premier League experience, having made 122 top-flight appearances.
By signing a proven Premier League midfielder, Bruce would be addressing an issue which the Magpies had last summer where both arrivals Joelinton and Allan Saint-Maximin had never played in the division before and needed time to adapt. Hendrick should slot in seamlessly and could compete with Isaac Hayden for a place alongside Jonjo Shelvey in the engine room.
Before departing Burnley, Hendrick had made 24 appearances last term, both scoring and assisting two goals. The central midfielder equalled his most productive campaign in terms of goalscoring contributions, despite making ten fewer appearances than the 2017/18 campaign where he also scored and assisted twice.
Considering the 28-year-old should be at the peak of his powers, has a wealth of top-flight experience under his belt and is available for nothing, Newcastle simply must add the Irishman to their squad.
With Bruce only expected to have £35m, plus any money generated from player sales, this summer, Hendrick would help to add depth in an area where the squad is depleted for the outlay of his wages alone, making him an absolute bargain.