Have Newcastle lined-up their replacement for Matty Longstaff?
With the news that once again there’s no concrete news on the takeover, just the usual rumours, claims and counter claims, it’s supposedly business as usual for those behind the scenes at St. James Park.
That means a claimed deal for 23-year-old French midfielder Arnaud Lusamba is very much on the cards. The player who is rated as hugely talented, technically gifted and with an ability to cover most of the midfield positions from an attacking sense is available on a free transfer.
The Chronicle reported last Monday that we’d been in ‘talks’ to sign the OGC Nice talent (irrespective of a potential takeover) just 24 hours before stories broke revealing that Matty Longstaff looked set to swap St James’ Park for Serie A. Coincidence? I’m not so sure given this saga has looked increasingly likely to end in him leaving.
One out for £400,000 (compensation package), one in on a free? Now, that’s the sort of fee our current regime likes and understands. Lusamba though available – and probably on much less than the £30,000-per-week Matty seems to be demanding – does also seem to carry a lot of baggage with him. When he first arrived at his current club Nice it was claimed big things were going to happen for him.
Fast forward and not a lot has. He played 15 times in Ligue 1 last season after coming back from a loan spell at Cercle Brugge in Belgium where he did impress but not enough to earn a move if one was ever anticipated.
The reasons given for his in and out career and lack of consistent game-time is there are question marks over his attitude and professionalism both in training and off the field. However, there are some that also think he’s misunderstood and would benefit from a move to a bigger club.
Nice have already said they will not be renewing his contract and he’s free to find another club, while NUFC’s Steve Rixon is believed to rate him and has recommended him to the current regime. Lusamba’s current market value on the well-respected Transfermarkt is currently £2.16m.
That figure may be down on what he’s worth if mind and ability ever come together as one so he may well be worth a punt for The Toon as it wouldn’t be a massive loss if he failed to live up to potential. But then again do we really want another Henri Saivet situation on our hands?
Whatever the outcome of the takeover and we all know what outcome we want, the transfer business at the club under the current regime will be interesting. I personally can’t see them tinkering much with the current squad given the delicate state of affairs, but Lusamba may be the exception if he’s seen as a real bargain and shrewd Matty Longstaff replacement.
After all, Lusamba seems just the type of player the current regime would jump at.