It’s going to be an absolutely mental summer again.
I must not be the only Newcastle fan who is expecting us to go crazy with the bids again in the next transfer window, strengthening the squad for a push up the Premier League table next season.
With just shy of £100m invested so smartly in January, it appears the Magpies recruitment team are eyeing quality players with good characters, rather than erratic purchases who could upset the status quo in our squad.
I have delved into a few metrics and scouting reports to suggest three players I think our recruitment team should look at this summer.
I will breakdown each player into three sections:
– Player Bio / Career
– Player Stats / Metrics / Suitability to NUFC
– Expected transfer fee.
Without further ado, let’s get into my first selection – Lucas Paqueta.
Lucas Paqueta, 24, Attacking Midfielder, Lyon
This is one of those transfers that appears ‘written in the stars’ so to speak. It appears that the NUFC Twitter network is attempting to work its magic on Lucas Paqueta of Lyon, constantly replying to his tweets attempting to seduce him with a move to Tyneside. Clearly, it will take more than a few tweets to lure the Brazilian to Tyneside, however hopefully, we may already have an inside source to the Paqueta camp.
Interestingly, Paqueta already has ties to our current squad, as he shares an extremely close friendship with our Brazillian maestro Bruno Guimareas. Him and Bruno have been best friends since uniting at Lyon in 2020, watching each other play frequently at their respective clubs. The two Brazillian superstars both come from humble beginnings in Rio De Janiero, Brazil, playing for Flamengo and Athletico respectively.
Paqueta has been capped 31 times by Brazil, scoring seven goals in the meantime. Quite impressive numbers considering his tender age of 24. Paqueta can also demonstrate deeper European pedigree than most his age, playing in Serie A with AC Milan during his apprenticeship in European football.
Moving onto Paqueta’s talent, the playmaker tends to operate slightly further forward than his Brazillian compatriot Bruno, operating in an attacking midfield position behind an orthodox striker. Paqueta has 39 appearances in all competitions this season, chipping in with 10 goals and six assists.
Additionally, in terms of Ligue 1 attacking metrics, Paqueta’s numbers are extremely promising. In the 2020-2021 Ligue 1 season, Paqueta ranked 5th in progressive passing and 3rd in through balls completed, two key attacking midfielder metrics. These metrics are fundamental to the success of an attacking midfielder, creating opportunities by passing the ball forwards.
Furthermore, Paqueta also demonstrates willingness to defend, ranking 6th in pressures made this season and 9th in tackles won. Evidently, this demonstrates Paqueta’s versatility as a midfielder, willing to do the hard yards if needed.
Paqueta would fit perfectly into our starting 11, operating as either a number ten in front of two holding midfielders, or an advance one of the midfield three in Howe’s preferred 4-3-3 system.
Paqueta may be available for a reasonable fee also. The reputable Transfermarkt values him at £31.5m, with his contract due to expire in June 2025. Moreover, with Lyon operating as a PLC, it is logical to suggest that Paqueta may have a release clause or ‘acceptable’ figure the club will accept, similar to Bruno in January.
Hopefully, we can attract Paqueta to the project at the club, reuniting him with his best pal Bruno in the process.
Gabriel Jesus, 25, Forward, Manchester City
Another man that will be sought after in the summer window is Manchester City’s Brazilian striker, Gabriel Jesus. According to the reputable Fabriazio Romano, Jesus has told his current employers that he wishes to leave in the summer transfer window with Pep Guardiola also commenting that the Brazilian striker is no longer in his long term plans. This transfer will be tricky however, with Champions League chasing Arsenal also extremely interested in a deal.
Although it feels like Jesus has vast Premier League experience and has been around for what feels like ages, he is still extremely young at 25 years old. Furthermore, Jesus has been at City seven years, so is ready to adapt to another Premier League team immediately. In my personal opinion, Jesus (if available) should be our number one transfer target in the summer. Not only with the Brazilian speedster contribute goals and assists to our weaponry, he is also extremely willing to do work out of possession; something Eddie Howe wants of his strikers.
In regards to footballing metrics, it looks EXTREMELY promising for Jesus as a player for the Toon. Some of these when researching, I found extremely fascinating myself. In three of the Premier League seasons he has played, he ranks in the top six (4th, 4th, 6th) for Goals and Assists per 90 minutes, highlighting his threat not only with goalscoring, but setting up teammates also. Considering he has never been given a consistent run in the Manchester City side, this is an extremely promising statistic. It is fascinating to think how good Jesus could be, if given a solid run in a Premier League side. Moreover, Jesus features three times in the expected goals per 90 minutes metric, granted he has world class quality supplying him and vice versa. Jesus also features strongly in the progressive passing received metric, highlighting his willingness to run in behind the defensive line and make constant forward runs. This could be explosively dangerous if given the right service from the likes of his Brazilian counterpart, Bruno Guimareas.
Jesus is valued at £45m by Transfermarkt, which appears quite expensive. I suspect it may take around the £55m plus mark to prize him away from Manchester City however. Despite that seeming a lot of financial outlay, Jesus almost guarantees Premier League goal contributions, he is still young and learning and could get even better, given the correct development plan and guidance.
Personally, I think we will see the best of Gabriel Jesus when he is given a regular run in a Premier League side and Newcastle United could be the perfect opportunity. We will face stiff competition from Arsenal for this transfer, however with them now falling out of Champions League contention, will it change the Brazillian’s thoughts? We all know what happened last time we had transfer competition with Arsenal…
Dean Henderson, 25, Goalkeeper, Manchester United
The next signing that I think we could target in the summer is Manchester United’s reserve goalkeeper Dean Henderson. It remains to be seen whether Howe trusts Dubravka between the posts long term, however this may be taken out of his hands due to Dubravka’s age of 33. Although this isn’t particularly old for a goalkeeper, could Howe target an up and coming goalkeeper in Henderson? The 25 year old has been capped once by England and has 17 clean sheets in 49 Premier League experience, demonstrating solid foundation of Premier League experiencing.
With only three starts made so far this season, it is apparent that Henderson will perhaps be looking for a move away from Old Trafford in the summer, in a big to establish first team football. Let’s not forget the England man’s fantastic form for Sheffield United on their blockbuster 2019-2020 Premier League season. This is made evident by the fact Henderson held the 3rd best goals against per 90 minutes metric. Additionally, Henderson has demonstrated adept ball distribution with his feet, exhibited with his progressive passing distance metric in the same season where he ranked 9th in the division.
According to TransferMarkt, Henderson could be available for a mere £16m transfer fee, a reasonably good fee for a goalkeeper coming into the supposed prime of his career. Additionally, Manchester United will be looking at a complete summer rebuild, therefore it is reasonable to suggest that Henderson would be available for a particular fee agreed between both sides.
The Henderson transfer really depends as to whether Eddie Howe sees Martin Dubravka as part of his long term goalkeeping plans. If Henderson can rediscover the form that he had at Sheffield United a few seasons ago, there is no reason why he cannot force his way back into England reckoning. This is the narrative the Magpies recruitment team must push for when pursuing the Henderson transfer.