By Matt Farr
Former Premier League midfielder Don Hutchison believes that signing Fabian Delph and Tom Cleverley would take Newcastle to a whole new level.
The 45-year-old, now a TV pundit, insists that the pair would transform Newcastle’s side, adding that it would be a real statement of intent from manager Rafa Benitez.
The Magpies are chasing immediate promotion back to the Premier League this season and are currently second in the Championship, two points behind leaders Brighton.
Despite a minor drop in form that has seen them lose four of their last 10 league games, Newcastle remain one of the favourites to return to the top-flight, and Hutchinson believes that signing either Cleverley or Delph would show that they do not plan on staying in the Championship.
He told the Newcastle Chronicle: “Newcastle could do with doing some business in January. I’ve been told they’re in for Fabian Delph at Manchester City and there are reports they’re looking at Tom Cleverley at Everton too.
“Both of those signings would move Newcastle up a level in my opinion. Delph, in particular, is a Premier League player and if Newcastle signed him in January then they’d be sending out a real statement of intent about where they intend to go next.
“Cleverley might not be as popular with the Newcastle fans but he’d bring a bit of composure and creativity to the midfield. I think he’s a Premier League performer and again, it would tell you a lot about Newcastle’s ambition.”
At the start of the month, the Sun reported that Newcastle had submitted a loan offer to Everton that would see him move to St. James’ Park until the end of the season.
The former Manchester United man has made just 12 appearances in all competitions for Everton this season, and does not appear to be one of Ronald Koeman’s preferred midfield options.
Delph, meanwhile, has featured just twice for Manchester City this season, having missed much of the campaign with injury. He has played just 28 minutes of Premier League football this season, and Pep Guardiola could grant him a temporary switch in a bid to get more first-team action.
Football Insider verdict:
Newcastle already have a top quality squad, one that does seem too good for the Championship on paper, but here they are regardless. With a world-class manager at the helm in Rafa Benitez, returning to the Premier League is the only clear outcome on Newcastle’s minds this season. However, there are still a few issues to iron out, and the absence of the suspended Jonjo Shelvey in their last three games has been a concern. They lost Shelvey’s midfield spark and creativity, and simply haven’t found a suitable alternative. Both Cleverley and Delph would be superb additions to the ranks. They both have vast Premier League experience to offer and have the quality needed to ensure Newcastle’s top-flight return. The lack of action is a problem for both players and a move to St. James’ Park would be a real bonus. Newcastle should certainly be looking to bring in either or even both at the earliest opportunity this month.
In other Newcastle news, the Magpies are one of several clubs interested in this international midfielder.