The Lowdown: Interest in midfielders
The Tyneside club were linked with a number of midfielders this summer as they aimed to assemble a squad capable of European qualification.
Whilst Newcastle were linked with the likes of Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans and Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher, the most prominent speculation emerged regarding James Maddison. The Magpies made two bids for the 25-year-old, the second of which totalled a staggering £50m (£45m plus £5m in add-ons).
However, the Foxes remained firm on their £60m valuation of the playmaker, leaving Howe without an additional midfield acquisition.
The Latest: Downie’s claim
Downie understands that Newcastle are keen to add a top-quality midfielder to their squad next year, with that piece of the puzzle missing next to current Brazilian duo Bruno Guimaraes and Joelinton.
Speaking with GiveMeSport, the Sky Sports reporter claimed: “Next summer, I think they’ll then be looking to add a real class midfielder to come in and complement the likes of Bruno Guimaraes and Joelinton in there. I think they definitely need someone in that position as well.”
The Verdict: Could be scope for playmaking addition
Since Guimaraes arrived at St James’ Park and Joelinton moved to a more defensive position in midfield, Newcastle look far superior in the middle of the park compared to last season.
As per FBRef, compared with positional peers across Europe over the past year, Guimaraes ranks in the 99th percentile for tackles and the 93rd percentile for progressive carries and non-penalty expected goals plus expected assists.
Complimenting this, Joelinton ranks in the 96th percentile for aerial duels won, the 93rd percentile for touches in the attacking penalty area and the 90th percentile for blocks (via FBRef).
However, this leaves a space for a new playmaker to be integrated into Newcastle’s starting XI, which could ultimately result in an equally balanced midfield trio.
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