Newcastle’s proposed loan deal for Lazio left-back Jordan Lukaku has collapsed, the club announced on Friday.
Lukaku had reportedly arrived in Newcastle for a medical, and the club confirmed that the medical did indeed take place. While Newcastle’s statement on Friday did not give a reason for the sudden collapse of the loan deal, local reporters have claimed that Lukaku failed his medical.
“Newcastle United can confirm that Jordan Lukaku will not be joining the club,” the Magpies released in a statement. “The defender was on Tyneside on Friday after being given permission to travel by Lazio. It has now been decided that a loan deal will not be pursued. We wish Jordan all the best for the future.”
The alarm bells began to rang on the Lukaku deal earlier on Friday, when Rafa Benitez failed to confirm the deal was close during his weekly press conference. When asked about the deal, Benitez said, “I will not talk about transfers. Any name or any player. I am getting a lot of names from Lee the director of communications but I will not talk about anyone.” It was surprising that Benitez would not confirm the deal, as it was being widely reported at the time and was understandably close to completion.
Newcastle fans are desperate for squad reinforcements with the club battling relegation, sitting 17th in the Premier League table with 21 points, just two clear of the drop zone. Lukaku was meant to provide cover on the left wing, with Matt Ritchie forced into a wing-back role in Benitez’s recent 3-CB system, and Paul Dummett failing to make the last two matchday squads. Lukaku’s deal reportedly had a buy clause at the end of the season, allowing the Magpies to potentially spend a club record $25 million to complete the deal permanently.
Lukaku will be disappointed at the failed deal, having amassed just 170 minutes of Serie A time with Lazio this season among seven appearances, six of which have come off the bench. Meanwhile, Newcastle fans will also be frustrated, as they have grown increasingly vocal of owner Mike Ashley’s penny-pinching policy in recent transfer windows.