Exclusive: Bundesliga reporter tells NUFC fans what to expect from Schalke’s Nabil Bentaleb

A few days on from Nabil Bentaleb’s arrival on Tyneside, we’ve been chatting to Ronan Murphy – a Bundesliga reporter for GOAL who’s seen plenty of the Schalke midfielder during his time in Germany.

Here’s what Ronan (@swearimnotpaul) had to say during our chat about the former Spurs talent, who looks set to feature in our FA Cup clash against Oxford today:

Q1) What are Bentaleb’s strengths and weaknesses as a player?

“He’s a very technical player.

“Clever on the ball and capable of outfoxing defenders with his dribbling ability and quick passing.

“He is quite one-footed though so needs to do a lot of things with his left foot!”

Q2) He’s not played all season at Schalke after being banished to their reserves for “disciplinary issues”. Is he a player with attitude problems?

“He’s had a few fallings out with different coaches at Schalke so that automatically raises black flags.

“Some could be forgiven, but others were personality clashes with the people in charge.”

Q3) We have some good midfielders, but one thing we lack is a dynamism, athleticism and a ‘box-to-box’ option who can be effective in both halves. Can he be that player?

“He’s probably not a true box-to-box player, but he’s a hard worker and a great passer so can fill that role. H

“He’d be best suited as a deep-lying playmaker.”

Q4) What is his work rate like? I’ve heard good things about his ability on the ball, but we’re a hard working team that rely on each player putting in 110%..

“When he was on the pitch for Schalke, he worked very hard to turn things around for them but off the pitch, he has been accused of not giving enough.”

Q5) It’s a loan deal with a reported option to buy for £8.5m. Do you think that’s a good deal?

“That sounds like a great deal for a player of his talent.

The initial loan should give Newcastle a chance to put the discipline issues in the past and get the best out of him.

Q6) If you could compare him to any other player in world football based on his style of play, who would it be?

He might be a budget option Thiago! A very budget option..

A big thanks to Ronan for answering our questions!

It sounds like we have a player who has real talent and one who’s capable of becoming a brilliant signing at £8.5m – but only if he knuckles down off the pitch and shows what he can really do on it as result.

Hopefully Bruce’s man management can help bring the best out of him.

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at NUFCblogsubmissions@gmail.com & we’ll get back to you!)

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

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