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With bottom half Premier League sides locked in a menacing battle against relegation, times are desperate and Bristol City’s Joe Bryan could potentially spark a bidding war before the January transfer window shuts down in a week’s time.
Newcastle United and Brighton are rumoured to be the two most interested clubs in signing the £7m-rated Bryan, who can play at left-back or on the left-wing. He was instrumental in Bristol City’s League Cup win against Manchester United in the quarter-finals.
Bryan superbly started and finished the move which led to the home side taking the lead against Jose Mourinho’s mighty men at Ashton Gate and was also named as man-of-the-match as his side won 2-1 to set up a semi-final against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has apparently given Rafa Benitez the permission to go after the 24-year-old with a £7m price tag, this despite all the recent complications over the potential takeover of the club by Amanda Staveley and PCP Partners.
Brighton, meanwhile, remain interested in signing the full-back as well and are also willing to pay the required sum, in a bid to stave off relegation.
Both clubs secured promotion only last season and despite the tumultuous nature of the clubs, only one is considered genuinely big on the English football scene with a potentially massive future and that is Newcastle United.
Despite the best efforts of the sports media tabloids to say Benitez is looking to leave imminently, he has never spoken about it publicly and in fact, he was named as the major reason for PCP’s prospective takeover of the club.
If and when that buyout happens, Newcastle will be furnished with a big transfer kitty with which Benitez may look to improve the squad beyond recognition over the next three transfer windows or so and I’m sure a player of Bryan’s standing with genuine ambition would rather look to be a part of that.
Newcastle are unlikely to go down with Benitez in charge, even with Newcastle’s current squad. Kenedy and Paul Dummett would mean competition for Bryan but they are all different players capable of playing in varied roles and so this should not put the popular Bristol man off.
Going to Brighton could possibly mean the cruel irony of crossing paths with his old side, should Bristol potentially go up next season via the playoffs and Brighton go down. So for me, he’d be better off at Newcastle United.