Newcastle won't sign Jacob Ramsey today - but they can land a dream £55m alternative this summer

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Newcastle failed in their attempts to buy Aston Villa's Jacob Ramsey - but that leaves the door open for an even better transfer in the summer.

A quiet January transfer window is drawing to a tepid close, with plenty of juicy-looking transfers left to wither on the vine. The fax machines are quiet, agents’ phones are on silent. And many Premier League clubs who had appeared as though they may be very busy have, in fact, been docile. Newcastle United are one such club.

For a couple of weeks it looked as though St. James’ Park would be a frenzied hive of activity towards the end of the window, but Kieran Trippier and Callum Wilson are still there while there have been no incomings whatsoever. And one of the players who the Magpies have missed out on, and perhaps the player who would have been the most important for them had he signed, is Jacob Ramsey.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Depending on which reports you believe, Aston Villa either had no interest whatsoever in countenancing a transfer for the 22-year-old, or slapped a hefty £50m price tag on him to deter potential purchasers. Unai Emery made it abundantly clear that he viewed Ramsey as a key part of his future plans, and Newcastle simply didn’t have the spare cash to force the issue.

That could be an issue for Eddie Howe, because he may well need some new midfielders by the time next seasons rolls around. Bruno Guimarães has been repeatedly linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain, while Howe has publicly acknowledged that Joelinton may have played his last game for the club following surgery while may see him miss the rest of the campaign. It seems unlikely, at this stage, that both of the players who form the beating heart of Newcastle’s midfield will still be on Tyneside in a year’s time.

Which is where Ramsey would have come in, of course – he’s dynamic in possession, aggressive off the ball and capable of forcing turnovers, and has the right combination of speed and stamina to shuttle up and down the pitch from box to box, which is exactly what Bruno and Joelinton do for Newcastle now and what Howe will want any new signings to replicate going forward. But now it seems as though they would have to fork out a massive amount if they want to get him in the summer, if it’s even possible at all. Ramsey is under contract until 2027, and Villa hold all the leverage.

This isn’t necessarily terrible news for Newcastle, however, and there is at least one other player out there who is the same age, has the right combination of playing profile and quality to succeed at St. James’, would likely come in a little cheaper, and who has been linked with the club before – OGC Nice midfielder Khephrén Thuram.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The son of France legend Lilian, Thuram is an all-action midfielder who is just as effective at both ends of the field. Like Ramsey, he has a huge amount of energy and the physical attributes to get up and down the middle of the park all day long. Like Ramsey, he’s a fine technician and a confident ball-carrier who can spark attacks for his team by running the ball out of his own third. But there are several things that Thuram does better than Ramsey does.

For starters, his passing range is much broader and he is considerably more accurate. Ramsey is arguably better around the 18-yard box and at finding pockets of space and playing final balls, but Thuram is better in deeper areas, finding passes and getting moves rolling in the first place. And while Ramsey is perfectly capable of getting back to stymie attacks, Thuram is a better tackler and seems to read the game more easily, meaning he makes more turnovers and stops more attacks.

Both players are just 22 and have plenty of room to grow, but Thuram is slightly farther along than Ramsey at this stage. He’s more of a naturally defensive player while Ramsey like to get forward and explore the kind of spaces that a number ten normally would, but both are more than capable of playing the kind of high-energy box-to-box game that Howe demands.

And while Thuram turned down the chance to leave Nice over the summer amid rumours that his team valued him at £55m, he is very likely to move on after the end of the current campaign, in which he is leading an unlikely title challenge against perennial champions PSG. His current contract only runs until 2025, meaning he would be entering the last year of his deal once the summer transfer window opens. That should push his value down and encourage Nice to sell, and the vultures are already circling.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Which is where the one problem lies for Newcastle. For every link between them and Thuram before the start of the season, there were two or three that connected him to Liverpool. Chelsea and Juventus were reported to be interested too, and his continued improvement may attract other suitors. Thuram’s quality is no secret and it’s very likely that Newcastle would have to fight to get his signature.

It would have been pretty handy for Newcastle to have got their next midfield dynamo sorted already – but it didn’t happen, or at least it certainly looked like it wouldn’t at the time of writing. Jacob Ramsey is a missed opportunity, but there may well be better ones in the summer, and Thuram looks like the perfect target.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.