Rafael Benitez should be lining up a new left-back when the summer transfer window opens in a few months time.
The Spaniard was desperate to bolster his options on the left flank back in January with Paul Dummett the only recognised left-sided defender at the club. After watching a move for Jordan Lukaku collapse, Newcastle eventually signed Antonio Barreca on loan from Monaco. However, recent reports from the Chronicle suggest the Italian was low on Benitez’s list of potential targets which makes a permanent move in the summer unlikely.
While Matt Ritchie has performed admirably at left wing-back, it’s clear the former Liverpool boss needs to sign a natural left defender in the summer. Staying in the Premier League will be crucial to Newcastle’s summer transfer plans. Benitez will be hoping the sale of the club is also concluded so transfer funds are made available.
One man the ex-Real Madrid manager should be keeping tabs on is Banfield wonderkid – Claudio Bravo. Valued at just £525k by Transfermarkt, the left-back has been one of the most consistent performers in the Argentina Primera Division this season after breaking into the first-team. Bravo has been ever-present during his 12 appearances this season, earning plenty of praise for his excellent showings.
First and foremost, the 21-year-old is an excellent defender who would add some much-needed stability to the Magpies’ back four. Remarkably, Bravo has averaged an incredible 5.9 tackles per game in Argentina – more than any other player in all of Europe’s top five leagues this season.
Despite his young age, Bravo also reads the game superbly, making 3.7 interceptions per game, again no player in Europe’s top five leagues has averaged more. Not only does the youngster excel defensively, he also loves to get forward to help out the attack, averaging an impressive 2.2 successful dribbles and 1.3 key passes per game (WhoScored).
Bravo has the potential to be special and could be Newcastle’s long-term solution to their left-back dilemma.
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