Eddie Howe has addressed the big question hanging over Newcastle United in his pre-match press conference this morning.
That question being: What the hell is going on with Lewis Hall?
The 19-year-old hot prospect was signed on loan from Chelsea late in the summer transfer window with his deal containing an obligation to buy for an initial £28million which could rise to £35million. Newcastle fans were rightfully excited by the deal and Chelsea fans were gutted to see one of their brightest young talents leave.
However, since that switch, Hall has barely featured for Newcastle and it has since been revealed that certain criteria must be met before the obligation part of his deal kicks in, suggesting that Eddie Howe is trying to prevent that goal being met so Hall can return to Chelsea in the summer.
Sly Sports reporter Keith Downie posted on X this morning that Eddie Howe has long-term plans for Hall but also quoted the gaffer as saying the criteria for his buyout has not been met.
“We need to develop certain elements of his game and working with him daily. The requirements haven’t quite been hit, but my message would be to be patient.”
So by that little nugget of information, it does look as though Hall will still be a Newcastle player next season, but he's currently not up to the level Howe expects from his players.
That would make sense given his age and the fact he's coming from a Chelsea side that was a complete mess last season.
We keep going back to it, but Anthony Gordon's arrival in January is the perfect example. The 22-year-old said he was way off the levels of the rest of the squad and found it hard to get up to speed, having to put in extra work over the summer. It's likely a similar story for Hall.
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