Newcastle head coach Steve Bruce 'pressed' Mike Ashley to facilitate a move to bring Ross Barkley to the club on loan in the summer, only for the owner to say a deal could not be done.
Barkley had been deemed surplus to requirements at parent club Chelsea and was looking for a new club in order to find regular, first-team action; news which caught the attention of a number of Premier League sides.The attacking midfielder eventually signed a season-long loan deal with Aston Villa in September, but the Chronicle report that Bruce was actually keen to bring Barkley to Tyneside before he settled on the Midlands.
But Bruce was told that pursuing a deal for Barkley was 'impossible', with Newcastle unable to shift a number of players off their wage bill - namely Henri Saivet, Christian Atsu, Rolando Aarons and Achraf Lazaar, all of whom are out of favour in the north east.
The Magpies are expected to be active again in the January transfer window and have funds available, but will likely target loan deals as potential takeover talk continues to rumble on. That also give the club another chance to move the aforementioned players on, freeing up some much needed funds.
The Chronicle's report adds that a midfielder is still on the agenda in January for Newcastle, with Bruce keen to bolster his squad with 'Premier League know-how'; a criteria that Schalke midfielder Nabil Bentaleb, linked with a move back to the club, would meet.
As well as Barkley, Newcastle were also linked with fellow Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek towards the end of the transfer window. Again, a deal failed to materialise, and the Englishman ended up at Fulham to help Scott Parker's charges try and avoid relegation.
For Barkley, moving to Aston Villa has worked out well so far. He's been a regular feature for Dean Smith's side and has linked up well with Jack Grealish - netting two goals and an assist - although he's recently been hit by injury; a recurring theme throughout his career to date.
Source : 90min