According to The Sun, Newcastle United are set to firm up their interest in Burnley wonder kid Dwight Mcneil, with reports claiming that new manager Steven Bruce has identified the 19-year-old as one of his top transfer targets for the summer.
The Sun understands that the Magpies are willing to pay £15million for McNeil but Burnley’s massive £30million valuation of the winger could prove to be a massive stumbling block in their pursuit of the emerging starlet.
The Clarets are in a strong negotiating position because McNeil signed a new long-term deal at Turf Moor last year, which will keep him at the club until the summer of 2023.
The 19-year-old, who made his first-team breakthrough for Burnley as a late substitute in the final game of the 2017-18 Premier League campaign against Bournemouth, played a more significant role in the first-team under Sean Dyche the last term.
McNeil came into the frame around the Christmas period last season when Burnley were hovering just above the relegation zone but he immediately established himself as one of the mainstays of the team and took the Premier League by storm with some scintillating displays down the flanks.
As a matter of fact, the teenager’s injection of pace, exuberance and that much-needed X-Factor to a rather one-dimensional and toothless attack proved to be one of the main catalysts behind Burnley’s remarkable upturn of form in the second half of the previous campaign.
McNeil scored his first goal in a 2-0 home victory over West Ham late in December and bagged another man-of-the-match performance in the victory over Huddersfield Town, racking up a string of impressive performances since the turn of the year.
The 19-year-old Rochdale-born starlet also scored against Leicester City and Wolves in March and finished the season with 3 goals and 5 assists in 21 Premier League outings, figures which are quite impressive for any breakout star in the top-flight.
Meanwhile, Newcastle are close to completing a club-record £38million deal for Brazilian forward Joelinton, whilst Andy Carroll and Charlie Austin have been lined up by Bruce as potential options to support the newcomer.
Bruce has reportedly expressed an interest in signing Preston centre-back Ben Davies, although the Magpies are currently not in any need of a new centre-back whatsoever. (h/t Sun)
To put things into perspective, Newcastle’s interest in Dwight McNeil certainly looks justified and it is not difficult to see that he could be an excellent acquisition, both in terms of the club’s long-term as well as short-term plans moving forward.
Young, talented and potentially commanding a massive resale value- the 19-year-old perfectly fits the profile of players that Newcastle generally look forward to signing in the transfer window.
Plus, McNeil showed a good level of maturity in addition to his dazzling youthful exuberance in the Premier League last season, which should prompt Newcastle to make a move for him.
A tricky, elegant and stylish left-footed wide player, McNeil is not only adept at combining his burst of pace and acceleration with his dribbling skills to weave his way past the full-backs but the youngster also has the balance and the technical abilities to hold on to the ball in tight spaces down the flanks, thus allowing his teammates to make runs into the box.
An excellent crosser of the ball from the wide areas, McNeil also showcased his ability to set up goals with inch-perfect deliveries from set-pieces last season.
To add to that, he is a powerful striker of the ball from outside the box and an extremely hard worker who often tracks back to help out his own full-backs.
Newcastle do not have too many options out wide following the departure of the versatile Ayoze Perez to Leicester City this summer.
Matt Ritchie, who was one of the most reliable creative outlets from the left wing-back position under Benitez last season, is likely to play in a more advanced role under Bruce next term.
Christian Atsu hasn’t done enough over the years to convince that he is really capable of having a big impact in the Premier League.
Robert Kenedy has returned to Chelsea upon the expiry of his loan spell and Jacob Murphy seemingly doesn’t have a future at Tyneside, thus further epitomizing the need for new wide options in the ranks.
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Keeping all the factors in mind, McNeil’s talent and potential were there for everybody to see in the Premier League last season and there is no reason why Newcastle shouldn’t go ahead with a deal for the 19-year-old.
That said, a shoestring budget might see them get blown out of the water by Burnley’s asking price.
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