Newcastle United are drawing up transfer plans after last week’s takeover, but the Saudi-led investment could leave Jamal Lewis playing for his future at St James’ Park already.
Steve Bruce signed Lewis last September for an initial £20m after Norwich City dropped out of the Premier League. The full-back was a fixture of the Canaries’ backline during his final year at Carrow Road, however he has not enjoyed such a luxury on Tyneside this year.
Lewis started his debut Magpies campaign as Bruce’s first-choice left-back, but fell out of favour in February. He started 20 of 23 appearances over the opening six-months of the term, yet only played six-minutes over the Toon’s final 12 games as they fought relegation.
Lewis’ status became Matt Ritchie’s understudy, and has continued to support the 32-year-old at Newcastle so far this season. While Bruce has started the Scot in all seven games to date, Lewis has only played once for just six-minutes.
Ritchie, in contrast, is yet to not see out the full 90 this term, as he delivers constant, hard-fought performances. A sight Lewis rarely offered when on the field last season, with Bruce admitting he struggled with the learning curve.
“He is a wonderful athlete,” Bruce said, via Chronicle Live, in July. “It was a big learning curve for him last year, and he is only a young boy.”
Can Lewis respond to secure Newcastle future amid takeover transfer plans?
Bruce also noted in May that Lewis’ lack of experience meant Newcastle turned to Ritchie when the going got tough. “He’s done nothing wrong. I think he’s got a huge future for us. I see him train every day and watch him, and he’s a young player. I’ve just gone for a bit of experience at a time when I felt we’ve needed it most,” he claimed, via Chronicle Live.
Lewis must now show more of a response to falling behind Ritchie if he is to secure a future at Newcastle, as the club’s transfer plans begin to ramp up following last week’s takeover. The Toon have the cash to build a side capable of more than staving off the drop. But Lewis has failed to cement a place in a Newcastle side fighting at the bottom, let alone the top.
Newcastle will feel left-back is an area where a transfer can be an upgrade if Ritchie keeps Lewis out continually. The Toon explored potential signings in the position this summer, with L’Equipe citing Romain Perraud before he joined Southampton.