Following on from what was an unbearable transfer window for the Newcastle faithful, the tabloids seem to have targeted the club as potential heavy spenders in the Summer in retaliation to a shaky first half of the season which could force Ashley’s hand in the market.
And though it may still seem early to prophesize on potential deals that could occur this Summer, it’s always exciting looking out for hidden gems that could one day hopefully grace the black and white colours of Newcastle United.
And in this post, I am going to be taking a look at a player who has very much evaded media attention this season, but who has undeniably piqued the attention of lower league football enthusiasts across the country: it’s Hartlepool’s Luke James.
Now, it’s unlikely you’ve heard of the sparky 19 year-old from Amble. Plying his trade in League 2, his goalscoring exploits haven’t exactly been widely documented in the media. But that certainly doesn’t detract from what has so far been a very productive season.
In 32 games so far this term for mid-table Hartlepool, the attacking midfielder has netted 13 goals and has impressed lower league players and managers alike.
It would be fair to say, the youngster has been a revelation for the League 2 side since breaking into the first team in December 2011, 43 days after his 16th birthday. And having scored at the age of just 17 years and 64 days, he is Hartlepool’s youngest ever goalscorer.
Though he hasn’t been given the attention that he deserves, the name may well ring a bell with some fans. In 2011, Newcastle supposedly made a bid for him, which was promptly rejected by the club. In spite of James’ apparent readiness to leave and continue his development at Newcastle, Hartlepool were unwilling to sell and it’s now proving to be a very wise decision.
Last season, he was crowned ‘League One’s Apprentice of the Year’ at the Football League Awards in London, following very much in the same footsteps as Newcastle youngster, Gael Bigirimana, who picked up the Championship equivalent two years ago while he was still at Coventry.
Luke clearly has a very bright future ahead of him. Whether it is his intention to continue the already-impressive progress at Hartlepool remains to be seen. But if Newcastle were to rekindle their interest in the young local, he could very well be an exciting prospect for the Toon.
The club have been heavily criticized in the past for the amount of foreign players in their starting eleven, and James’ arrival would do a lot in returning some local pride to a team that is looking increasingly disjointed on the pitch. And also, with Hartlepool plying their trade in League 2, it’s unlikely he would demand a high transfer fee.
What do you think? Have any of our readers seen Luke James play? Would he be able to make the step up from league 2 to the Premier League – or is that asking too much?