The Premier League season for the calendar year 2022/23 is done and dusted with the teams now gearing up already for the upcoming season. The transfer rumour mill is back and clubs are already drawing up shortlist of potential signings to strengthen their respective sides in time before the pre-season.
Leicester City’s Harvey Barnes is subject to a lot of interest from a host of Premier League teams with Aston Villa, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur all in the race for the winger’s signature. The Foxes finished the 22/23 season in 18th position and will play in the Championship next season. It was a season to forget for the Foxes’ faithful as their side’s fairytale run in the top flight having won the Premier League and FA Cup during their time in the first division has come to an end. All eyes have turned to their big name stars who could potentially leave the club and move to other Premier League teams and Harvey Barnes is a player who looks likely to do the same.
The 25 year old scored 13 goals and provided 1 assist in 34 appearances for his side which was his best individual season stat-wise for the Foxes. These performances have caught the attention of the fellow English clubs who are all in the race to sign the Englishman with Leicester willing to sell the player and use the transfer fee to rebuild their side for the Championship next season.
It’ll be interesting to see where does Barnes end up as the 3 teams – Aston Villa, Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United all provide a different sporting project and have different playing styles which could be major factors behind the player’s final decision this summer.
The Villains had a remarkable season under Unai Emery as they will be playing European football next season. The Spaniard’s appointment in November was a masterstroke as he led the club from 15th in the table to a solid 7th place finish.
Emery’s 4-4-2/4-2-3-1 hybrid system worked wonders for Villa and looks like the perfect system for the type of players they currently have on the roster too. There was one drawback which Emery faced which was the lack of explosive wingers at the club as Leon Bailey was the only natural winger the Spaniard had throughout the season. Bertrand Traore is also naturally a winger but isn’t the type of player who will dribble past players and create chances. This meant Jacob Ramsey had to deputize on the wings for the Villains and play as a creative midfielder on the wings rather than his usual no.10 role.
The signing of Harvey Barnes is the answer to Emery’s lack of depth in the wings while also being the perfect player profile for the position as he is a player who can dribble past players, hold the width and also be a lethal finisher when cutting in on his right foot. Barnes is also a workhorse defensively and can track back as and when required to help his side defend which further ticks the boxes as to why he is the perfect player for Emery ball.
The North London club had an underwhelming season which saw them finish 8th in the league and miss out on European football for next season. The Lilywhites finished the season without a permanent manager in charge with ex-player Ryan Mason being the caretaker manager until the end of the season after the dismissal of Antonio Conte mid-season. The search for a new manager is ongoing as the Spurs’ board are working on the same before turning their attention towards signing players. As for Spurs, they have two first choice wingers in Heung Min Son and Dejan Kulusevski who can both play on either side of the flanks.
Their interest in Barnes is mainly driven by the possibility of club captain Harry Kane leaving in the summer with Real Madrid and Manchester United both keen on signing the star striker. With Richarlison replacing Kane up top incase the latter does leave, there will be a need for Spurs to sign another attacker for squad depth. It is unlikely that Barnes will settle for a rotational role in the team particularly after the impressive individual season he had with Leicester. The absence of a manager in charge ahead of next season is also a factor which could see Barnes not move to North London as it remains to be seen who will be at the helm next season and what will be the new manager’s ideas and system.
The Magpies were the team who surprised everyone after they managed to qualify for the Champions League next season by finishing 3rd in the league. Eddie Howe and co. have done an exceptional job with their side and their recruitment in particular last summer was spot on as their signings were one of the main reasons behind their impressive campaign.
The Magpies currently have Allan Saint Maximin, Miguel Almiron, Anthony Gordon and Jacob Murphy as the only wingers and the addition of Harvey Barnes makes a lot of sense for them. Howe demands his team to defend as a unit with the wingers being instructed to have a good off-the-ball workrate trying to regain possession and score during transitions. Barnes has experience playing in a Leicester side who played with a similar playing style under Brenden Rodgers.
The constant injuries Saint Maximin faced during the season saw the Frenchman miss plenty of first team action which was a huge blow for Howe. Barnes, who also plays on the left wing, will be the perfect player to compete with Saint Maximin while also deputize whenever the latter is not fit. With a grueling schedule next season competing in 4 different competitions, the Magpies will have to maintain a good squad depth in every position and the opportunity to play in the Champions League will be a major attraction for Barnes.
The 3 clubs as discussed above have their own pros and cons for Barnes and his agent to consider before making a move. The Aston Villa and Newcastle United projects would particularly be interesting for Barnes as they offer European football, managerial stability and plenty of first team minutes something Spurs cannot offer. There is no clear frontrunner in this race as it will also depend on Leicester City’s price tag which seems to be in the region of 35-40 million pounds. The Foxes will opt to sell their player to the highest winger in order to fund their own rebuild. A transfer saga to keep an eye out for.