What’s the story?
Indeed, the lack of dynamism in central areas has been a real problem for Steve Bruce so far this season.
No central midfielder other than Jeff Hendrick has scored more than once and none of the options at all have been able to register more than one assist. Alarmingly, none offer more than one dribble per game (via WhoScored), while even Jonjo Shelvey’s average of 1.2 key passes per 90 minutes is amongst the lowest return in his recorded career.
Outside of Callum Wilson, the team look chronically short of goals – having scored only once in the last three games across all competitions – and, with neither Allan Saint-Maximin nor Ryan Fraser enjoying luck with injuries, creativity is seemingly a precious commodity too.
Who’s been linked?
With the club thought to be shopping in the loan market, it could be difficult to find a player of Premier League quality on affordable wages to join mid-season outside of a hidden gem or an unforeseen circumstance.
Clearly, Newcastle need help on the midfield front.
While some of Matty Longstaff’s recent performances have been promising and young Elliot Anderson impressed during his cameo in the FA Cup loss away at Arsenal, it’s difficult to see where Bruce improves outside of bringing someone in.
Hopefully, something opens up later in the window but considering some of the apparent financial restraints, the search doesn’t appear to have an easy solution.