THERE was no official confirmation of Kieran Trippier’s impending exit from Atletico Madrid, but the sight of the England full back applauding the Wanda Metropolitano crowd long after full time of the La Liga win over Rayo Vallecano on Sunday was as good as one. Trippier believes he has played his last match for the Spanish side.
A return to the Premier League has been in the pipeline for Trippier since the summer when Manchester United reportedly made their interest known. Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have also been linked in recent times, but it now appears Trippier is on his way to Newcastle United. The same Newcastle United that sit second bottom of the Premier League table.
January is likely to be a pivotal month for the Magpies. They might now be the richest club in world football following last year’s Saudi-backed takeover, but there is widespread agreement that Newcastle’s current squad isn’t good enough to keep them in the Premier League. New signings are required. Lots of them.
Attracting the right players to St James’ Park will be difficult amid the threat of relegation, but Trippier would be both a statement signing and a sensible addition. Eddie Howe’s squad is weakest in the full back areas, where they have Matt Ritchie – a winger by trade – on one side and Javi Manquillo – a limited operator who wasn’t even good enough for Sunderland – on the other and Trippier, who can play on the left and right, would be a significant upgrade on both.
Trippier might be into his 30s, but is a current England international and has been a key figure for an Atletico Madrid team that won the Spanish title as recently as last season. He will give Newcastle United an attacking outlet and someone to provide Callum Wilson with service from the wings.
Of course, Trippier is already familiar with the nature of the Premier League having spent much of his career there and will be motivated to keep his place in the England squad for the 2022 World Cup. The 31-year-old might demand a bumper pay packet, but Newcastle United likely won’t pay more than £15m for a player who will be out of contact at Atletico Madrid in 2023. There is a lot that would make Trippier a shrewd capture.
Newcastle's new owners have said they hope to make Kieran Trippier their first signing this week. The England defender appeared to wave goodbye to Atletico Madrid supporters following their 2-0 win at home to Real Vallecano today #NUFC #NUFCTransfers ⚫️⚪️pic.twitter.com/3crKGFv4T0
— The Transfer Exchange Show (@TheTransferEx) January 2, 2022
Many expect Newcastle United to be a Robinho-esque signing this month just as Manchester City did to announce themselves as a force in the transfer market after a takeover. The Brazilian attacker was an elite level player at the time and his arrival at the Etihad Stadium marked the start of a new age in the Premier League.
Newcastle United don’t need a Robinho, though. Not at this time, anyway. Instead, they need players who can help guide them away from the Championship. There may come a time for the nouveau riche Magpies to collect some shiny things in the transfer market, but right now their objectives are rather less sparkly.
More than just Trippier will be required to preserve Newcastle’s top division status. No team has conceded more goals (42) in the Premier League this season than the Magpies and Trippier, an attack-minded full back, won’t do much to change this. Howe needs defenders who can defend. James Tarkowski and Nathan Ake have been linked and might well fit the bill.
Money gives Newcastle United a chance of survival, but such wealth will be worth nothing if it isn’t used in a wise manner. Manchester City had finished ninth the season before they signed Robinho. They had a margin for error that Newcastle United don’t and so this must guide their transfer strategy for the January window. The signing of Trippier would set a solid precedent.