Newcastle United are among the Premier League clubs chasing FC Koln defender Timo Hubers, according to The Daily Mail.
The lowdown: Hubers profiled
25-year-old Hubers is predominantly a centre-back, though he has played a handful of games as a right-back, left-back and defensive midfielder during his career, showing impressive versatility from a young age.
He made headlines in the UK in March 2020 when he became one of the first professional footballers to test positive for Covid-19.
He’s played 15 Bundesliga matches for Steffen Baumgart’s eighth-place side this season, including 12 of the last 13.
Significantly, his contract at the RheinEnergieStadion is due to expire in just over 14 months’ time, potentially putting pressure on Koln to cash in this summer.
Newcastle did strengthen the heart of their defence in January with the signing of Dan Burn from Brighton and Hove Albion, but clearly Eddie Howe wants further reinforcements.
The latest: Premier League interest
Journalists Chris Wheeler and Olly Allen write that Steve Nickson and Newcastle are ‘understood to be tracking’ Hubers ahead of the summer transfer window.
PL rivals Leeds United, Crystal Palace, West Ham United and Southampton are also in the frame in his signature, with Championship promotion hopefuls Fulham keen too.
He’s apparently likely to cost as little as £6million, in part due to his contract situation.
The verdict: A cheaper Salisu
What kind of defender is Hubers? Well, he looks to be very comfortable in the possession, ranking in the 82nd percentile (among positional peers in the ‘big five’ leagues) for passes attempted and the 95th for dribbles completed.
He also very much defends on the front foot, recording 11.58 pressures per 90 minutes (80th percentile) and reads the game well, as evidenced by his 4.12 interceptions per game (99th).
According to FBRef, he boasts a similar profile to Southampton’s Mohammed Salisu, another player Newcastle are said to admire. Indeed, The Telegraph’s Luke Edwards revealed that Newcastle considered a move for the Ghanaian in January.
But he’s valued at £13.5million by Transfermarkt, and Hubers could be available for only half the price. It may be a no-brainer, then, for Howe and his recruitment team.
In other news, this trio struggled most against Tottenham Hotspur.
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