NEWCASTLE UNITED will be focusing a large amount of their transfer attention on the loan market this summer – with Liverpool winger Harry Wilson and Chelsea youngster Conor Gallagher having been identified as their two leading domestic targets.

With the dust beginning to settle on the collapse of Amanda Staveley’s proposed Saudi Arabia-backed takeover, Steve Bruce is focusing his undivided attention on trying to engineer a transfer breakthrough ahead of his side’s return to pre-season training later this month.

The financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic have reduced his spending power this summer – Mike Ashley is understood to be willing to commit a budget of around £35m to transfer business, plus anything raised from player sales – and while he remains confident of making two or three permanent additions, he also intends to use the loan market to strengthen his squad.

Danny Rose and Valentino Lazaro could potentially return on loan after spending the second half of last season at St James’, but Bruce has been working with Newcastle’s recruitment team to identify potentially viable options further up the field.

Both Wilson and Gallagher are regarded as realistic targets, although it will not be easy for the Magpies to pull off a deal for either player given the amount of attention they are already commanding from elsewhere in the Premier League.

Wilson, who was one of Bruce’s leading targets 12 months ago, made a big impact on loan at Bournemouth last season, finishing the season as the Cherries’ second-leading scorer with seven goals. His spell at the Vitality Stadium has come to an end, and he is due to start pre-season training with his permanent employers, Liverpool, in a couple of weeks’ time.

Jurgen Klopp is keen to see the 23-year-old at first hand before deciding on what to do with him next season, but while there is a chance Wilson could be integrated into Liverpool’s first-team group, he faces a huge battle to force his way into the champions’ matchday squad.

Liverpool could look to sell him, with Leeds United reported to have made an approach, but having been unable to get anyone to match their £30m asking price last summer, the financial climate means they would have to reduce their demands significantly to secure a sale in the current transfer window.

Another loan deal is a likelier scenario, and Bruce is hoping to be able to persuade Wilson to rebuff interest from elsewhere in order to move to Tyneside. Having dropped out of the Bournemouth team in the final weeks of last season, the Wales international will be seeking the best possible opportunity of securing regular action next term, and Newcastle’s relatively shallow squad could work in their favour.

Gallagher will be weighing up the same equation as he considers his next move after spending last season on loan at Swansea City from Chelsea.

The 20-year-old established himself as one of the best attacking-midfielders in the Championship as the Swans made the play-offs, but their failure to win promotion means he will not be returning to the Liberty Stadium.

An England Under-21 international, he is keen to step up and test himself in the Premier League, but there is currently little prospect of him being offered a place in Frank Lampard’s senior squad at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea have already recruited Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech this summer, and are close to completing a deal for Kai Havertz, so Gallagher’s already slim prospects of breaking through with the Blues have receded further.

Newcastle have formally signalled their interest in the attacking midfielder, but they are far from the only club to have been in touch with the Chelsea hierarchy. At least eight different clubs are known to have made an approach, with Crystal Palace and West Ham understood to be especially hopeful of completing a deal.

Geographical factors could make a difference, with Gallagher having been born and raised in Epsom, but Bruce and the rest of Newcastle’s recruitment team remain determined to do all they can to try to persuade the youngster to relocate to the North-East.