Over the past few weeks, the club has been linked to an array of young talent from across Europe (albeit mainly from France) as areas within the squad still smack of fragility. However, in general, very little attention is given to the lower leagues, at least not through the media’s perception of our scouting activity.
Over the past few seasons, Premier League teams have been plucking homegrown talent from the vulnerable clutches of lower league teams, and all for very low prices: Nathaniel Clyne (Crystal Palace), Fabian Delph (Leeds) and Raheem Sterling (QPR) have all successful made the step-up to from the lower leagues to the Premier Division, and Newcastle, though occasionally linked, are unable to boast any homegrown talent originating from the lower leagues.
Therefore, I have compiled a few names from the lower leagues that I believe should be on the notepads of all Premier League scouts this Summer, especially for a penny-pinching team such as Newcastle, a team who are far more likely to pursue cheap unproven talent, as opposed to those who offer more costly Premier League experience.
Here we go:
Britt Assombalonga (Peterborough United)
The Peterborough United forward, 20, has scored 32 goalsin all competitions this season, and has single-handedly driven the Posh to the brink of the League 1 play-offs. A club record-signing last Summer, Assombalonga has made huge footsteps this year, and has very comfortably filled the spacious boots of the Crystal Palace-signed Dwight Gayle.
Previously at Watford, he spent two seasons on loan at three different clubs (Wealdstone, Braintree and Southend) where he scored consistently. Though Watford had wanted to hold onto him this season in their promotion-push, Troy Deeney and Fernando Forestieri’s prominence in the team, Britt was prompted to pursue regular first-team football elsewhere.
Assombalonga’s club are known for buying youngsters, developing them, succeeding with them and then giving them the platform to play Premier League football with a different team. They have achieved this with many players before Britt, most recently Dwight Gayle, who signed for near $1 million and was sold for a fee near $10 million to Premier League new boys Crystal Palace.
Though it is unlikely Assombalonga will cost that much, the interest for him is there, and it will take a bid in the region of £5m for Newcastle to prize him away from the London club.
Rating : 4/5
Nahki Wells (Huddersfield Town)
Another striker, Huddersfield Town’s Nahki Wells will perhaps be familiar to those of you who followed the Capital One Cup competition last season (even after Newcastle were knocked out by Manchester United). The 24 year-old, who was part of the Bantams unbelievable 2012/13 cup run, scored 26 goals in 54 games for Bradford last term, and 53 in 112 in his two and a half years at the club.
Since then, like Assombalonga, he has continued to prosper, this time in the Championship, having signed for Huddersfield town in January of this year. He has nailed in 14 goals in 18 matches, and is beginning to attract the attention of a number of Premier League clubs, looking to capitalize on the financial frailties of the West Yorkshire club.
He is a great passer of the ball and has been earning himself rave reviews in League One for his pace and trickery. Newcastle could do far worse than pursuing this lad.
Rating : 3/5
Harry Maguire (Sheffield United)
Harry Maguire is now in his third full season for League One club, Sheffield United. Having sprung onto the professional scene at the tender age of just 17, the 6ft 4in powerhouse has already racked-up 121 appearances for the League One side. He is certainly no stranger to the professional platform.
His formidable 6ft 4in frame means he’s an imposing presence in the air, both in defence and when attacking set-pieces. Meanwhile, his ball control and composure with the orb at his feet set him apart from the average League One centre-back and while he is not lightning-quick, his pace hasn’t been exposed at the level at which he’s currently playing.
And with club captain Fabricio Coloccini set to depart home to Argentina this Summer, Newcastle should be in the market for a new centre-back.
Nevertheless, despite playing in League One, Harry Maguire may be the most out of our reach, with the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United supposedly in pursuit of him.
Dele Alli (MK Dons)
The Englishman is a product of the MK Dons youth system and has managed to break into the first team this season, starting the clubs first two games in the Sky Bet League 1. He has represented his country 8 times at U17 level.
The teenage sensation scored a hat-trick the other night as MK Dons tore apart a wet Notts County side, which prompted Dons’ boss Karl Robinson to remark: “He’s got an air of arrogance and confidence about him. He’s one of the best young players in England – fact.”
The acquisition of Alli would be Pardews’ youngest purchase yet, and although the Milton Keynes native wouldn’t pose much in terms of immediate first-team impact, he comes highly recommended after featuring for England at under-17 level.
What do you think? Should Newcastle take a look at the lower leagues? And are there any other prospects who you think would be able to make the step-up?