Newcastle backed to seal £35m Leeds raid as major upgrade on club’s struggling prized asset

Rodrigo Moreno #19 of Leeds United and Jack Harrison #11 of Leeds United track the ball during the Premier League match Leeds United vs Fulham at Elland Road Credit: Alamy
Rodrigo Moreno #19 of Leeds United and Jack Harrison #11 of Leeds United track the ball during the Premier League match Leeds United vs Fulham at Elland Road Credit: Alamy

Newcastle United are being tipped to finalise a raid on Leeds for one of the Whites’ most-valued assets and in a deal that will be the third highest in the Magpies’ history.

Eddie Howe’s side are the most progressive side in the Premier League. Having battled with relegation over the first half of the 2020/21 season, a big-money takeover from PIF has transformed the club. With Howe at the helm, the Magpies finished a comfortable 11th, some 14 points clear of the dropzone.

This season, Newcastle were hoping to push into the top half of the table – and their form so far has exceeded all expectations. Indeed, going into the break for the World Cup, the Tynesiders sit third in the Premier League.

And having won their last five games leading up to the break, hopes are growing that they can secure an incredible top-four finish.

Howe deserves enormous credit for the part he has played in their rise. He has spent money shrewdly and not spent out of his means. Indeed, he is well aware of the pitfalls that could lurk were they to break FFP regulations.

And in doing so, he has strenghtened the spine of his squad with some really astute signings. And all of Nick Pope, Kieran Tripper, Sven Botman, Bruno Guimaraes and Dan Burn have all significantly improved the side.

Several star names have also been improved by Howe’s coaching. Miguel Almiron, Joelinton and Jacob Murphy all look rejuvenated under his leadership.

However, if there is one name that has arguably gone backwards, then it is Allan Saint-Maximin. The French winger was considered Newcastle’s biggest asset last season and their go-to man in avoiding the drop.

Leeds man Jack Harrison remains on Newcastle radar

Injuries, though, have severely limited his game-time this season. Indeed, the 25-year-old has started just four Premier League games this season to restrict Howe’s options.

One man persistently linked with a move to the north-east is Jack Harrison. The Leeds winger was on their radar over the summer, with director of football Victor Orta making clear why Harrison would not be allowed to leave.

However, Harrison is yet to agree an extension to his Leeds deal which is due to expire in summer 2024. And with the January window opening for business in under a month, Newcastle are being tipped to move for Harrison as an ‘upgrade’ for Saint-Maximin.

Former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell, speaking to Football Insider, reckons Harrison would be another shrewd addition for Howe.

“Harrison could be a really good squad player for Newcastle,” he said.

“He can play either side, and he’s always fit. That’s the thing that Saint-Maximin can’t bring.

“He’s always having these hamstring and muscle injuries. Harrison is fit, strong, he assists, he scores – he’d be a really good addition.

“I don’t think Leeds United can afford to let him go, but everyone’s got a price.

“If the right money comes in, I can see them letting him go so they can go out and strengthen in other areas.”

Leeds reportedly value Harrison at around £35m. Were Newcastle to pay that it would be the third highest fee in their history, topped only by Guimaraes and Alexander Isak.

Harrison has one goal and three assists for Leeds from 14 appearances this season. However, the former Man City man has seen his place in the side come under threat in recent weeks from Crysencio Summerville.

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