The stunning transfer that could help Newcastle United forget about Anthony Gordon if Liverpool seal transfer

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Where could Newcastle United turn if they were to lose one of their prize assets this summer?

A mix of anger, frustration and disappointment appeared to be etched on Anthony Gordon’s face as the Newcastle United stood beside his England team-mates ahead of the penalty shoot-out in Saturday’s Euro 2024 quarter-final win against Switzerland.

If penalties are, as they say, football’s high drama, Gordon was merely an extra, watching on as the main cast produced a high class performance before taking the acclaim from their watching public. Yet the Magpies star is more fitting of a position in centre-stage and he has already proven he can revel in the limelight on the biggest stages around. Despite a slow start to his career at Newcastle, Gordon thrived in adversity last season, scoring 12 goals and providing 11 assists in 48 appearances in all competitions as he kept Eddie Howe’s side in contention for a place in Europe that was ultimately snatched away from them by Manchester United’s FA Cup Final win against Manchester City.

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Such performances do not go unnoticed yet there was still more than a little surprise when there were reports Liverpool were considering a move to take Gordon back to Merseyside. It was something of an imperfect storm for Newcastle as their battle with the Premier League’s profit and sustainability entered a tense final stage and left the St. James’ Park hierarchy to consider selling a prize asset to avoid being hit with a similar penalty to those imposed upon Premier League rivals Everton and Nottingham Forest last season.

Tentative talks over a deal for Gordon reportedly took place before Newcastle’s sizeable demands for their player of the season meant an agreement always seemed unlikely. There were further reports over the weekend suggesting Manchester City were also showing an interest in the former Everton man - but United remain confident they can retain their in-form forward and there has been some talk Gordon will form part of their senior leadership team and could be handed a new contract upon his return from the Euros.

But what if Newcastle receive an offer they can not refuse? What if City or Liverpool are willing to part with a figure approaching £100m or throw in a player that can help the Magpies in another area of their side? Every player, no matter which club you are, has a price and that will be the concern for Magpies supporters, who have taken Gordon to their hearts and enthused over his performances over the last 12 months. Who could replace the goals, the assists, the energy and intensity that Gordon provided in some of the more difficult moments of a challenging season at St. James’ Park.

There are several reported targets who will more than likely remain out of reach given the Magpies failure to qualify for European competition. There are some targets who will have attracted interest from some of European football’s biggest clubs and there are those who have shone at Euro 2024 and may well find themselves out of the Magpies price range.

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Yet one player could well fit the bill and he has already come close to joining the Magpies earlier in his career. In his own perfect world, Steve Bruce would have raided former club Hull City to make Jarrod Bowen part of his Newcastle squad and enjoy the benefits of a player he had admired for several years. Eventually, the Magpies turned their focus elsewhere, Bowen moved to West Ham United and has made himself a firm favourite with the Hammers faithful.

Since making a £16m move to West Ham during the January transfer window in 2020, Bowen has gone on to score 60 goals and provide 39 assists in 202 appearances for the club. Unquestionably the most significant came in the final minute of the Europa Conference League Final in June 2023 as Bowen raced through on goal, kept his cool, and scored the goal that gave the Hammers a 2-1 win against Fiorentina and ensured they claimed their first trophy in 43 years.

West Ham winger Jarrod Bowen. Bowen was on the verge of joining Newcastle United back in 2020.West Ham winger Jarrod Bowen. Bowen was on the verge of joining Newcastle United back in 2020.
West Ham winger Jarrod Bowen. Bowen was on the verge of joining Newcastle United back in 2020. | Getty Images

Comparing Bowen with Gordon makes for interesting reading - although we should take into account the Hammers start did spend a lot of time last season leading the attack, rather than in a wide role that was handed to Gordon at Newcastle. The former Hereford and Hull City star scored 20 goals and provided ten assists in all competitions but a deeper dive into statistics show there are a lot of similarities between the duo.

Their xG per 90 minutes compares well (Bowen 0.35 - Gordon 0.33) and the similar can be said with average goals and assists per 90 minutes (Bowen 0.66 - Gordon 0.65). The Newcastle man edges the more progressive ball carries with an average of 4.3 per game compared to Bowen’s 2.69 - although that can be put down to Bowen featuring more in the lead role in attack and doing the majority of his work in the opposition penalty area. Both are also able to play in all three forward roles and have shown their class in both wide areas as well as in a more traditional number nine position.

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Although it may not be a like-for-like replacement, Bowen has shown all of the attributes Eddie Howe likes in his attacking players with a work-rate, versatility, intensity and energy that have become the hallmarks of his Newcastle side. Persuading West Ham to part company with a player that has become synonymous with their recent progress may not be an easy task and the fact Bowen has a contract committing him to the Hammers until the summer of 2023 will hardly aid United’s cause. Gordon’s departure still feels highly unlikely - but should it come to pass, Newcastle could do a lot worse than revisiting their previous interest in Bowen and making him one of their leading men in their attack.

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