Following last night’s 7-0 thumping of Morecambe in the Carabao Cup, Steve Bruce announced, to the club’s official Twitter account, his desire to keep a hold of Jacob Murphy.
While the signing of Ryan Fraser to supplement the likes of Matt Ritchie, Joelinton, Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin in wide positions may have appeared to push the former Norwich City youngster out the door, with the likes of Middlesborough and Rangers previously linked with a loan move, it appears as if Murphy’s performances in the Carabao Cup so far this season have seen him keep his place in the squad, at least for now.
Indeed, 2 big chances created in the cup this season (out of 5 fashioned by the side, according to SofaScore) and 2 key passes (half of the Magpies’ tally in the entirety of the Premier League so far) a goal and an assist certainly point towards a useful attacking outlet. Rated 9/10 by the Chronicle for his outing just in-land of the Irish Sea, they noted his host of ‘tempting crosses’ and teammate Ritchie was heard to have praised the 25-year-old – saying he was ‘on fire’.
Now, the quality of opposition must be taken into account – given Murphy was rated just 6/10 by the Chronicle for his performance against Blackburn in last week’s earlier round. Morecambe, after all, are 14th in League Two and finished third-bottom of the division last season, although it was ended early as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, Bruce’s comments on the player’s future don’t appear to be knee-jerk ones. The Newcastle manager spoke of how the winger has ‘improved enormously’ and has ‘shown a great attitude’ during pre-season, so Murphy is obviously giving the coaching staff something to think about.
In fact, it couldn’t come at a better time. The Athletic recently pointed out that, in an ideal world, a number of players (Murphy included) would have signed a 12-month extension to their deals due to expire in 2021 and then loaned out to increase their value. Due to the fact power brokers at St. James’ Park believed a new regime would be in a place by now, such talks regarding contracts were delayed and the Toon now head into the final months of 2020 with a number of players (again, Murphy included) with little time left on their deals.
So, it’s important Newcastle get something out of Murphy in the coming months. Having paid £12m, losing him for free would represent a major financial loss. While that kind of fee may not seem like a huge amount given some of the money lavished by Premier League clubs in recent years, only five players in their history cost more prior to this summer’s outlay. Furthermore, the league itself recently announced clubs had lost £700m last season as a result of the pandemic and more than £100m from the national game is reportedly being lost a month. Adding to that would surely be unwelcome.
With a loan seemingly out of the question for now, Murphy’s performance last night as well as his attitude behind the scenes look to be keeping his Newcastle career alive. If he can continue this run of form (Newport are up next) perhaps he can justify a 12-month contraction extension and either be sold to recoup at least some of his transfer fee or brought back into the squad to compete for places. Either way, Murphy is hitting form just at the right time.