Middlesbrough face a big challenge to see off interest from Newcastle United in their starlet Hayden Coulson this summer.
Reports from The Sun on Sunday (8/3/20, page 59) claimed that the Premier League side were plotting a summer move for the left-sided player who has been a revelation for Jonathan Woodgate’s side.
But how true are the rumours and could a move materialise this summer?
Phil Spencer takes on our FLW Six Pointer to get to the bottom of the latest speculation.
What’s been said?
“The Sun first revealed the news that Newcastle United were keen on making a summer move for Hayden Coulson.
“It’s claimed that Steve Bruce’s side could offer up to £10million to secure the signing of the 21-year-old who was born over the River Tyne in Gateshead.
“However according to Teesside Live, Middlesbrough will not entertain offers for the hot prospect at any cost this summer.”
What can you tell us about Hayden Coulson as a player?
“Having represented England up to under-19 level, the talent of Hayden Coulson is no secret.
“Coulson has been with Middlesbrough for a number of years and signed his first professional contract with the club in July 2016.
“He’s since enjoyed loan spells with Cambridge United and St Mirren before making his first team breakthrough at the Riverside Stadium so far this term.
“Coulson started his career as a left winger, but is also comfortable playing at left-back making him a real asset to the Teessiders.”
Why is he so highly-rated by Middlesbrough?
“Quite simply, Hayden Coulson is seen as a huge part of Middlesbrough’s future.
“After spending time away from the club on loan, Coulson has returned to the Riverside Stadium this term and immediately made an impression on Jonathan Woodgate.
“The 21-year-old has regularly been seen as the club’s best left-back this term, while more recently he’s been playing higher up the pitch in a left wing position.
“Coulson is small, agile but incredibly quick and that makes him very difficult for opposition players to handle as his direct running often causes problems.
“At 21 his best years are very much ahead of him and Middlesbrough are keen to see him fulfil his potential with the club.”
Could Newcastle United’s interest be genuine?
“While it’s hard to confirm whether Hayden Coulson is a genuine target for Newcastle United, they’ll certainly be looking for someone in his position.
“Steve Bruce’s side have used Jetro Willems and Danny Rose as left wing-back this term, but with both players on loan it’s certainly a position that will need attention this summer.
“Williams and Rose will not come cheap, and so the Toon Army are likely to be looking at cheaper, high potential options to fill the role – with Hayden Coulson certainly ticking those boxes.
“As a Tyneside lad, it’s not a surprise to see the 21-year-old linked with a move to St James’ Park.”
How much do you think Hayden Coulson is worth?
“It’s difficult to say at this stage, as you’re very much dealing with potential.
“Hayden Coulson will certainly be a first team regular for Middlesbrough next term, and so it would be a big blow to lose him ahead of the new Championship season.
“The 21-year-old is full of potential and could certainly improve way beyond his current level of ability.
“If I was to put a figure on it I’d imagine that Middlesbrough would be tempted by any offers in the region of £12million, however they’d almost certainly want a substantial sell-on clause inserted in the deal.
“For me, anything less than that would be a poor deal for Middlesbrough with an offer of that amount more than affordable for a Premier League side.”
Could he be tempted to leave?
“I think it’d be hugely naive to assume that Hayden Coulson wouldn’t be tempted by a move to the Premier League.
“As a Gateshead lad, Newcastle United will have been the biggest team on his doorstep and so playing at St James’ Park could be well be an aspiration of him.
“That said, he needs to be smart about his career.
“The 21-year-old is far from the finished article, and with a near-guarantee of being a first team regular with Middlesbrough this could be a massive plus as he continues to develop as a player.
“Moving to Newcastle would be a step forward both professionally and financially, but if he’s not going to be playing regularly then it could have a hugely detrimental impact on his development.
“It’s hard to predict what a player’s motivation is, but with Coulson seeming to be a fairly grounded kid I’m sure he’ll be determined to ensure that he’s playing regularly.
“However if that was something that was promised at Newcastle United then the Teessiders could be backed into a corner.”