Moussa Niakhate is reportedly now ‘attracting interest’ from Newcastle United ahead of a potential move in the summer.
The Lowdown: Solid season
Niakhate is having a solid season at Mainz, where they currently hold the joint-third best defensive record in the Bundesliga.
The captain and leader of his side, the six-foot-three colossus has been hailed as a ‘key player’ and a ‘role model’ by sporting director Christian Heidel and head coach Bo Svensson, and so may not be easily let go, valued at £16.2m by Transfermarkt.
The Latest: Newcastle interest
As per The Daily Telegraph journalist Mike McGrath, Niakhate is now ‘attracting interest’ from the St. James’ Park faithful, as well as both West Ham United and Everton.
Should Newcastle sign Niakhate?
However, the latter will only be in the running for him if they manage to stay in the Premier League for next season.
The Verdict: Upgrade
Niakhate would seemingly be an upgrade on Eddie Howe’s current centre-back options.
He is currently averaging more tackles and interceptions per game than Fabian Schar, Dan Burn and Jamaal Lascelles in their respective domestic leagues this season, and offensively, he has scored three goals and makes more key passes than the Magpies trio (WhoScored).
Clearly then, this is an up and coming defender with the ability on the ball to fit like a glove into Eddie Howe’s system, which relies far more on progressive build-up from the back than previous manager Steve Bruce.
Of course, the top flight is different gravy, but he has already shown his worth against Liverpool superstar Mo Salah, who ‘didn’t enjoy‘ playing against Niakhate in pre-season.
A senior call-up to the France national team is surely in the pipeline, and at 26 years of age, the North East club would be signing him just as he enters his prime.
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