This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Newcastle United are reportedly weighing up a move for AFC Bournemouth midfielder Phillip Billing according to The Sun.
It is claimed that a potential agreement for the midfielder could involve Matt Ritchie returning to the Championship club, although it remains to be seen as to whether that will be the case when an official approach is launched by the Magpies.
Billing has made 19 appearances this season for Jason Tindall’s side, who are currently sat sixth in the second-tier standings, as they target promotion back into the Premier League at the first time of asking.
Whilst Ritchie has struggled for consistent minutes with Newcastle in the top-flight this term, with the 31-year-old making 11 appearances in all competitions.
But would a potential swap deal for Billing and Ritchie be a good deal for Newcastle United?
There’s an awful lot to like about Billing and I do think he’d give Newcastle something different – with his physicality in midfield and ability to carry the ball forward.
Matt Ritchie’s career at St James’ Park appears to be winding down, so it would certainly make sense to use him as part of a deal to bring the Bournemouth midfielder to the North East.
Billing has impressed me at Premier League level in the past but there are serious concerns about his attitude, something that has caused difficulties a number of times in the past.
He’d be a good player to add to the Newcastle squad and I think may just need the full backing of a manager to make an impact.
That said, the Magpies shouldn’t be moving mountains to get it done.
They’re different sorts of players, of course, so it adds to Newcastle’s central area whilst also taking away an option out wide.
I think Ritchie would perhaps be open to a move to Bournemouth where he can play more football and I think Billing is a player that should be in the Premier League in all honesty.
I think he’d add some extra class to Newcastle’s midfield and so I think it’s a decent move for them for sure.
The Magpies need to add more quality at the moment and I think Billing would be a player that adds to their first-team line-up, so it’s a good signing in that sense.
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Even though Steve Bruce has many central midfielders to select, I think Billing would be a punt worth taking.
There’s not many like him in the Premier League – 6ft 4in, strong, a good passer and is fairly mobile for his size – and he would definitely offer the Magpies something different.
His competition at Bournemouth of Jefferson Lerma and Lewis Cook is arguably stronger than the options at St. James Park, which currently consist of Jonjo Shelvey, Isaac Hayden, Jeff Hendrick and the Longstaff brothers, and he definitely offers a different option to all of those names.
If the rumoured swap with Ritchie comes to fruition then it makes sense for all parties – Jason Tindall would finally get a wing back on the left-hand side of the pitch who can also play as a winger in a four-back formation, and Bruce would add a powerful midfielder to his rank – a win-win for all.