The Lowdown: Newcastle interested in Fofana
The St James’ Park outfit’s interest in the 27-year-old was reported back in June ahead of the summer transfer window.
The Magpies were in a three-way battle with Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain for his signature, and Lens were prepared to let him go for a fee of between €30m and €40m (£26.2m-£34.9m).
It is not clear whether the Tynesiders will return for him in January, but The Daily Mail’s northeast reporter Craig Hope revealed in late October that Newcastle are set to prioritise the signing of a central midfielder as they search for an ally for Bruno Guimaraes.
The Latest: Fofana move backed
Speaking to GiveMeSport, Bairner has backed a potential Magpies move for Fofana, claiming that he would ‘fit really nicely’ with Bruno, and talked up his key attributes.
The French football journalist said of the Lens maestro: “I think he’d fit really nicely with Bruno Guimaraes. Fofana’s been a sort of revelation in Ligue 1 since he moved from Udinese a couple of years ago, he’s been undoubtedly one of the best central midfielders.
“Bruno was a strong performer in Ligue 1, and Seko Fofana is kind of similar. Very strong attacking player, he does most of his best work going forwards, is known for his powerful runs, his excellent shooting, and he’s got a very good scoring record.
“His influence at Lens has been tremendous, it’s very difficult to overstate how good he’s been there.”
The Verdict: Get it done
Given that Bruno would have played against Fofana in Ligue 1 from his time at Lyon, he would know the 27-year-old’s strengths and attributes, so they could establish a formidable new partnership in the middle of the park for Eddie Howe’s side.
The Ivorian is a leader on the pitch, having established himself as the captain at Lens, and his goal contribution record is impressive for a central midfielder, with 14 goals and eight assists over the last two-and-a-bit seasons at the club (Transfermarkt).
He ranks in the 94th percentile for shots taken, 91st percentile for pass completion and 87th percentile for dribbles completed and progressive passes received for midfielders in Europe’s top five leagues over the past year (FBRef).
Fofana is clearly an all-rounder going by these figures, and him playing alongside another quality midfielder in Bruno could help elevate the Magpies to new heights.