At Newcastle United, Anthony Gordon will find a very different environment to the one he left at Everton. While the Toffees are toiling near the foot of the Premier League table, the Magpies are flying high in third place with Eddie Howe’s team dreaming big following the 2021 Saudi Arabian takeover of the St James’ Park club.
Indeed, Newcastle are heading in the right direction. On their current trajectory, they will be among the Premier League title challengers next season with the atmosphere around St James’ Park more buoyant than it has been in decades. All this is in stark contrast to the malaise felt at Everton right now.
Howe was surely a major draw for Gordon as he weighed up his future. The Newcastle manager has shown how to get the best out of players since his appointment just over 12 months ago. Gordon can look around at several players who have reached unexpected heights under the stewardship of Howe.
Miguel Almiron is chief among them with the Paraguayan one of the Premier League’s most consistent attacking performers this season. Not so long ago, Almiron was a figure of fun. He was an extremely frustrating player to watch, often fluffing his lines after doing the most difficult part. Almiron is a player transformed having scored nine times in 20 Premier League appearances this term.
This presents Gordon with a precedent to follow. The 21-year-old’s potential is clear, but he often lacks final product in the attacking third. This is where Howe can refine the output of his new signing who will offer squad depth as Newcastle United attempt to make their place in the top four of the Premier League table stick.
“He’s a young player with huge potential to have a big impact on our season. He’s very quick, very dynamic and he’s versatile. He can give us something different,” said Howe. “But the best is yet to come from him; we’re going to have to support and guide Anthony through his move. Certainly I was very impressed by the person I met yesterday. He handled himself really well.”
It’s not clear how Gordon will fit into a squad that already has Allan Saint-Maximin as a depth option on the left wing. The Frenchman is capable of producing a match-winning moment, but fitness and form has been an issue for him this season – Newcastle could cash in on Saint-Maximin before the transfer window closes despite Howe’s insistence he won’t leave.
Newcastle’s squad is still being moulded by a scouting and recruitment department determined to turn the club into a dominant force in the Premier League and European football. Howe has a first team good enough to compete for Champions League qualification, but he doesn’t have the squad depth that some of his rivals have. This could be a differential.
Competition will be stiff for Gordon at St James’ Park. Joelinton has been used on the left side of Newcastle United’s front three most recently with the Brazilian another player who has reached new heights under the stewardship of Howe. His ability provide drive and carry attacks has given Newcastle a different dimension.
Newcastle United aren’t just building a squad for this season, they are building for the years to come and this is where Gordon could be worth the £40m the Magpies have paid for him. Gordon is a home-grown player who has room to grow and develop just as the team around him grows and develops. He might not make an immediate impact, but he hasn’t necessarily been signed to make one.