Newcastle should be back in the market for a centre midfielder after Mikel Merino departed the club.
The Spaniard spent last season on loan at St. James Park and made 24 appearances as the Magpies ended the campaign in tenth. Rafael Benitez triggered the clause in the contract to make his move permanent when the summer transfer window reopened. However, just weeks later, Merino was sold to Real Sociedad.
Benitez will be back in the market for a midfielder and has been linked with a move for the former star, Georginio Wijnaldum. Prising the Dutchman from Liverpool will prove costly, and Mike Ashley is surely unlikely to fund a deal with Wijnaldum’s wages totalling around £90,000-per-week.
Instead, the Magpies should target Zenit St Petersburg lynchpin – Leandro Paredes. Valued at £18m by Transfermarkt, he joined the club last summer in a £20m deal for Roma. He instantly became a key player for Zenit, making 35 appearances in all competitions.
Paredes would be the ideal signing to bring the best out of Jonjo Shelvey. The defensive midfielder is the perfect deep-lying playmaker, picking up eight assists last season and averaging 2.4 key passes per game (WhoScored). He also chipped in with five goals for his side.
The Argentine is also a decent defender who reads the game exceptionally well – averaging 1.9 tackles per game last season. Paredes’ long passing is his biggest strength, no one in the Newcastle midfield averaged more than the 24-year-old.
If Newcastle could lure him from Russia, they would have the next Premier League star on their hands.
Newcastle fans, thoughts?