Newcastle United have struggled since the £19 million sale of star player Yohan Cabaye to French giants Paris Saint-Germain in January, and there is pressure on the club to replace him this summer.
Despite the influx of Gallic talent on Tyneside in recent years, manager Alan Pardew has spoken about the need to bring in quality English talent. With the Premier League's Home Grown players quota as well, the Magpies may have no other option.
Newcastle have a rich history of gifted English midfielders, including former Three Lions stars Paul Gascoigne and Rob Lee. In recent years though, domestic players have enjoyed less success on Tyneside, with Dan Gosling failing to impress and Danny Guthrie moving on in the hope of finding first team football.
Since the high-profile transfers of Stewart Downing and Andy Carroll in 2011, there have been suggestions that English players are over-priced and over-rated, however there are exceptions.
We've found five young players that would be realistic targets for Newcastle, and could be available at knock-down prices...
Mutch wasn’t always a regular starter in Cardiff City’s successful 2012/13 promotion season, and having been left out of the starting 11 for the first seven league games of this campaign, it looked as though he was to suffer a similar fate again.
Since then though, the 22-year-old has earned a spot in the Welsh side, and has an impressive seven goals and eight assists in 34 games in all competitions this season – the best of his career.
With the Bluebirds threatened by relegation, he may be available in the summer, and would be ideal for a Newcastle side lacking midfield creativity.
It’s been a mixed season for England under-21 man Morrison.
After starting nine consecutive league games for West Ham United earlier in the year, suspension and a disagreement with manager Sam Allardyce saw him farmed out to Queens Park Rangers on loan. He has proved a real hit with the R’s though, firing six goals in 14 games.
Pardew tried to sign the youngster from Manchester United in 2012, and with him unwanted at West Ham, Newcastle may try again.
Morrison certainly has the talent, with England manager Roy Hodgson tipping him to make the World Cup squad before Christmas.
There has been plenty of talk on Wearside that with Colback out of contract at the end of the season he could make the switch from Sunderland to their North East rivals.
Paul Bracewell and Shay Given are both examples of players who have successfully made similar moves in the Premier League era, and it helps that Colback is a Newcastle fan.
The 24-year-old is a tidy player who is both quick and strong, and capable of playing across the midfield or in either full back position. He may not be a direct replacement for Cabaye, but his versatility could make him a real asset.
Another former Manchester United man, Drinkwater has been key in Leicester City’s promotion to the Premier League this season.
With five assists, he may not create as many goal-scoring opportunities as other Championship midfielders (Andy Reid and Craig Bryson have managed 16 and 14 respectively), but he has added more goals to his game – eight this campaign, compared to just the one last time out.
The Manchester-born midfielder also capped a fantastic year with his nomination for the second tier’s Player of the Year award.
The Foxes will not want to let him go, but Drinkwater may be tempted by an offer from an established top flight club.
“But he plays for Brentford!? League One’s Brentford.”
Yes, he does. However, it is worth noting that 15 of the 30 players named in the latest England squad have played in the third tier or lower. In fact, only six of the squad have spent their entire careers so far in the Premier League.
Having come through Everton’s youth set-up, playing alongside England internationals Ross Barkley and Jack Rodwell, it’s not as though Forshaw lacks quality anyway.
Named the division’s best player at the Football League Awards, the 22-year-old has been the Bees’ star man in their promotion push. Weighing in with eight goals and four assists in this campaign, it is clear to all who have seen him that the Liverpudlian is cut out to play at a much higher level.
He possesses excellent close control and superb vision to complement a wide range of passing, and though his former club may be flying high at present, the Toffees may come to regret letting Forshaw go.
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