Premier League strugglers Newcastle United could lose Joe White when his contract expires in 2022 with Scottish giants Celtic and Rangers eyeing up a bargain swoop for the exciting midfielder, as reported by The Chronicle.
Speaking in September, Newcastle’s long-serving-goalkeeper-turned-academy-manager Steve Harper admitted that more needed to be done to ensure there was a pathway from the U23s to the senior squad for the club’s most exciting young talent.
The appointment of Eddie Howe as Steve Bruce’s replacement, then, feels like a substantial step in the right direction.
While the heat of a relegation battle may not be the ideal environment for blooding unproven youngsters, Howe arrives at St James’ Park with a terrific track record for youth development.
Callum Wilson and Lewis Cook became England internationals on Howe’s watch, remember, while Ryan Fraser, Nathan Ake and more also made huge strides under the baby-faced 43-year-old tactician.
It remains to be seen, however, what sort of a role teenager Joe White will have in the Howe era.
Will Joe White leave Newcastle United for Celtic or Rangers?
Alongside Elliot Anderson, the Carlisle-born 19-year-old is viewed as perhaps the cream of the current crop of Newcastle youngsters, producing four assists in ten Premier League 2 matches this term.
White has not yet made his senior debut in black-and-white, however, despite being included in the matchday squad for Newcastle’s 4-1 defeat to a Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Manchester United in September.
With his contract expiring in nine months, it is understood that Celtic, Rangers and a host of Bundesliga clubs are circling like vultures around a bloody carcass.
What’s more, Scottish clubs can sign English-based youngsters on the cheap due to compensation rules north of the border. Rangers needed to splash out just £300,000 when snatching Joe Aribo from Charlton Athletic in 2019 after all.
Former Newcastle coach David Ballantyne likened the gifted, elegant White to Mesut Ozil when speaking to the Chronicle while Peter Hampton, the midfielder’s grandfather, highlighted his eye-catching technical gifts.
“For me, he’s got a range of passing that I’ve not seen, and that many people don’t have,” said Hampton, a former Leeds, Stoke and Burnley defender.
“Many don’t have the ability to play the passes which he plays, and with a bit of luck he might have a decent future.
“He’s fortunate that he’s got some great attributes; a left foot which is second to none, a good physique and in a couple of years I think he will develop into a really strong player – he’s about 6ft 1.”