Judge Continues to Improve as Newcastle Interest Picks up

Newcastle United could be set to renew their interest in Brentford star Alan Judge after it emerged that the midfielder could return to action from a broken leg quicker than first thought. The Republic of Ireland international sustained the injury at the end of last season, forcing him to miss the European Championships. It wasn’t just a major tournament Judge missed out on, with a move to Newcastle ultimately falling through at the last minute. Initially, the midfielder’s double leg break was seen as something that could keep him out for up to a year. 

Expected to return to light training at the start of 2017, Judge could now finally complete his move to St. James’ Park when the transfer window opens, with his current contract set to expire in the summer. There will be questions asked as to why Newcastle would want to sign a 28-year old just coming back from a serious injury who has never played in the top flight before. When looking at how crucial to Brentford’s success Judge was over the past few years, though, not to mention his sensational form last season that saw him finish second in the Championship’s Player of the Year award, some of those questions are answered. 

Having failed to make the grade with Blackburn Rovers, Judge has been forced to work his way back up the leagues, first with Plymouth before signing for Notts County and then making a return to Ewood Park. Just a year after re-signing for Rovers, the Irishman was loaned out to Brentford in League One, playing a key role in the Bees’ earning promotion into the Championship in 2014. A permanent move to Griffin Park soon followed, and Judge went on to establish himself as one of the best players outside the Premier League, scoring 14 goals last season for Brentford in a stand-out campaign before his injury. 

Featured Image from Newcastle United” (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by machernucha

Despite sitting top of the Championship, and boasting football betting odds of around 1/14 to earn promotion back into the Premier League at the first time of asking, Rafa Benitez is expected to be looking to strengthen his squad during the January transfer window. With one eye already on their return to the top flight, the Magpies will be planning for the future, and Judge may well be signed as a player for next season. That said, due to return to action well before the end of the campaign, it may be that Judge has a role to play this year should he make the move north. 

Predominantly used as an attacking midfielder, capable of playing just behind the striker, Judge would bring some real creativity to a Newcastle team that have been prolific in front of goal this season; with Dwight Gayle, Ayoze Perez and Aleksandar Mitrovic combining for 22 goals so far this year. With more than 24 assists to his name during his time with Brentford, the playmaker is a very useful asset to have at your disposal in this league, although there will be questions as to how long it will take Judge to get back to full match fitness after such a serious injury. 

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