Just as Newcastle United were being tipped for a quiet January transfer window, another injury to Jonjo Shelvey – who will miss up to eight weeks with a calf injury – looks set to alter our approach.
Howe has generally looked to manage expectations on the recruitment front, suggesting FFP could limit our ability to bring in first-team additions, but a recent quote from the Toon boss insisted we’re “ready to act” should anything change on the fitness front.
Speaking during our warm weather training camp in Saudi Arabia, Howe said:
“I am not expecting too much business, whether incoming or outgoing, but it is football and it is January, so it’s unpredictable.
“We can’t predict what is going to happen with our own squad, in terms of fitness and availability, so we do need to be ready to act if we need to.”
Although Newcastle have performed far from poorly in the first-half of the season without Shelvey, he was undoubtedly part of Howe’s plans for the coming months – with the midfielder stringing together multiple impressive performances in the second half of last campaign before picking up an injury which ruled him out until recently.
If Shelvey was to return in early March as anticipated, he would miss at least 10 fixtures between then and window opening, including Arsenal and Manchester City away; and Liverpool at home in the Premier League. Howe’s midfield will remain weakened for future cup ties as well, with FA Cup and Carabao Cup fixtures set to fit in that time-frame if we get passed Sheffield Wednesday and Leicester.
So, with Howe saying he is “ready to act” if “unpredictable” changes were to happen within his squad, it seems likely that we reinforce our midfield in the coming window. It has already been suggested that we would like to strengthen in this department, with a Bruno injury leaving our midfield very bare.
Considering we’d been linked with a whole host of midfielders prior to Shelvey’s injury – Maximo Perrone, Andrey Santos, Jorginho, Youri Tielemans and Moises Caicedo, to name a few – do not be surprised if we sign someone to fill this position over the coming month.