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Newcastle United plotting a move for Hakim Ziyech

Newcastle United could look to secure a stunning coup from a Premier League rival this month if they can overcome financial obstacles…

What’s the latest?

That’s according to Ben Jacobs, who took to Twitter to detail the Magpies’ interest in Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech.

Eddie Howe is said to have “explored” the deal, with the Moroccan’s starring role at the World Cup likely to have overwritten his disappointing fortunes of late in west London.

The only stumbling block which remains is his £100k-per-week wage, which could worry the manager and Dan Ashworth. They will not want to upset the wage structure mid-season, or potentially frustrate the current squad given that it is those players who have them third in the top-flight table.

As such, this is likely a move which will only take place if Ziyech agrees to a significant pay cut, with just two Newcastle players currently earning more than him.

Shades of Almiron

One of the glowing success stories of Howe’s reign has been the emergence of Miguel Almiron, who has hit the form of his life this season.

His goalscoring exploits have been essential in Newcastle’s unlikely push for a place in next season’s Champions League, boasting nine goals and one assist in just 18 Premier League appearances. Compared with his one league goal in 30 appearances last term, it shows the scale of this accomplishment.

Revitalising out-of-form wingers is a trait now bestowed upon the Newcastle manager, and a move for Ziyech offers a much more impressive foundation from which to start rebuilding his performances than that of Almiron’s.

In 13 appearances this season, the 29-year-old is yet to offer a goal contribution, despite a solid second campaign at Stamford Bridge last year which saw him record eight goals and six assists in 2021/22.

However, it was his creative exploits at Ajax which truly captured widespread attention, with 21 goals, 24 assists and an imperative role in their sensational run to the Champions League semi-finals four years ago.

Would you take Hakim Ziyech at Newcastle United?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Despite their contrasting career trajectories, Almiron shares many similarities with Ziyech. Both enjoy operating from the right flank, where they can cut in onto their favoured left foot. When allowed to do so, the outcome can often be devastating for the opposition.

Combined with a mutual exceptional work rate, this could well see the Chelsea man become a similar success story at St James’ Park to what the Paraguayan has been.

Almiron ranks in the top 8% for interceptions among positional peers in Europe’s top five leagues over the past 12 months, whilst the Moroccan is among the top 13% for tackles.

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First up, who scored Newcastle's first goal of 2022?

The similarities don’t end there, when you look at the players’ respective statistics from their full careers. As per FBref, the two post similar returns for non-penalty goals per 90 minutes (0.32 v 0.25, Ziyech first), shots per game (2.4 v 2.36), dribbles (387 v 401) and live-ball passes leading to a shot at goal (337 v 329).

Should Ziyech now make the move to Tyneside, perhaps the former Bournemouth boss could work his magic once more to reignite another stagnating career and propel Newcastle even closer to the Champions League.