The £20m transfer disaster Newcastle United simply can't afford to fall for this summer

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One reported target would not fit what the Magpies require in a key position next season.

Newcastle United and injuries have formed an unwanted and almost unavoidable alliance over the last nine months. A season that got underway with the excitement and euphoria of the Magpies’ Champions League return has proven to be an uneasy plod - one that somehow ended with Eddie Howe’s men in possession of a place in next season’s Europa Conference League.

That is, of course, unless Manchester United see off local rivals Manchester City in Saturday’s FA Cup Final and land a place in the Europa League, forcing Chelsea into UEFA’s tertiary club competition and leaving Newcastle to contemplate free midweeks when the new season gets underway in August.

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Now, it should be said, if City can complete a double and lift the FA Cup once again, landing Newcastle a second consecutive season in Europe for the first time since the days of Sir Bobby Robson, the Magpies can reflect on the campaign with some sense of pride and achievement given the unrelenting list of injuries they have suffered.

With the likes of Joelinton, Sven Botman, Nick Pope and Callum Wilson all spending significant time on the sidelines during the campaign, there should be little surprise to discover the Magpies lost injured players for a total of 1,950 days during the season. That places them at the top of an undesirable table and sees them sit 189 days ahead of second place Sheffield United and a further 16 ahead of third placed Chelsea.

So, what is the point in all of this injury talk I hear you say? It’s not some sort of defence of Newcastle’s inconsistency this season, and it isn’t a rebuke to understandable claims Howe has made some incorrect decisions throughout a campaign that brought questionable performances in defeats against the likes of Luton Town, Bournemouth and Everton.

No, these stats are here to question claims Newcastle are preparing a move for Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, a player who has an injury record that would fit in nicely amongst his would-be team-mates at St. James’ Park. With Magpies striker Callum Wilson 156 days on the sidelines with chest, calf and hamstring injuries, Alexander Isak has taken the weight when it came to carrying the responsibility in attacking positions for the Magpies throughout the season and, it should be said, the Sweden star has shone brightly.

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However, asking the former Borussia Dortmund and Real Sociedad striker to perform a such a level and with such responsibility for a second consecutive season is out of the question and that is why United are considering moves for several forward players during the summer transfer window. Links with the likes of Stuttgart’s Serhou Guirassy and RB Leipzig’s Benjamin Sesko are not without foundation as there is an acceptance at least one striker must be added to Howe’s squad this summer and that could increase to two if Wilson is sold as he enters the final year of his current deal at St. James’ Park.

Jarrod Bowen and Dominic Calvert-Lewin have both been linked with Newcastle United. Image: Ryan Pierse/Getty ImagesJarrod Bowen and Dominic Calvert-Lewin have both been linked with Newcastle United. Image: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Jarrod Bowen and Dominic Calvert-Lewin have both been linked with Newcastle United. Image: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Newcastle will require robustness and ability in equal measures from any new addition at the top end of the pitch and, sadly, Calvert-Lewin can only provide one of those qualities when you assess his injury record in recent seasons. Since the start of the 2021/22 season, the 11-times capped England striker has missed 317 days after suffering a broken toe, broken cheekbone and knee and hamstring injuries during that time. There is no question over Calvert-Lewin’s ability and that is why he has been on Newcastle’s radar for a number of years - but his injury record, a one comparable with Wilson’s, means he is unlikely to provide the Magpies with what they will require as they look to move on from a challenging season.

Calvert-Lewin does average a goal contribution (goal or assist) in every 2.87 games after scoring 68 goals and providing 18 assists in 247 appearances for the Toffees since breaking into the first-team setup in December 2016 and was rightly called up to the England squad after impressing in the Premier League in October 2020. Again, given his ability, there is no question the 27-year-old, if fully fit, would have been in contention for a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the European Championships in Germany this summer.

However, with injuries limiting his impact at Everton during the season, it is highly likely Calvert-Lewin was even in the conversation for the initial 33-man training squad - and that is also why he shouldn’t be in consideration to help give a much-needed boost to Newcastle’s forward ranks during the summer transfer window.

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