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Newcastle had a blunder on Niclas Fullkrug

Newcastle United may well be ruing their failure to land Germany international Niclas Fullkrug, with the towering marksman having been in sparkling, goalscoring form in recent times.

Reports back in 2018 suggested that the Magpies were one of a number of Premier League clubs who were interested in signing the 6 foot brute from Bundesliga side Hannover, with the forward having put himself firmly in the shop window with 14 goals in 34 league games during the 2017/18 campaign.

Despite that interest from the Tynesiders, no move ultimately came to fruition as the impressive marksman remained in Saxony for a further year, while then-boss Rafa Benitez notably brought in the likes of Yoshinori Muto and Salomon Rondon.

The decision not to make a concrete approach for the player may well have backfired as far as those at St James’ Park are concerned, with the £38k-per-week man currently thriving in his homeland for Werder Bremen, whom he joined back in 2019.

The former Nurnberg ace notably netted 19 times in the second tier last term to help drag his side to promotion, with that rich vein of form having continued in the current campaign as the 29-year-old now boasts a haul of ten goals in just 14 top-flight games.

After years of plying his trade in the lower divisions, the experienced asset is now thriving at the elite level, with only Christopher Nkunku (12) having netted more goals in the Bundesliga so far this season.

That tally also ensures that Fullkrug is even outperforming Magpies ace Callum Wilson at present, with the latter man having only scored six times in his ten Premier League, with the German’s all-round game having perhaps been more impressive.

That is evidenced by the fact that the Bremen talisman ranks in the top 5% in Europe for aerial duels won among those in his position, illustrating his brutal presence in leading the line, while the £5m-rated powerhouse also ranks in the top 6% for progressive passes to illustrate his creative flair.

Wilson, by contrast, only ranks in the bottom 42% for aerial duels and the bottom 16% for progressive passes, with even the lively Englishman unable to match his counterpart’s rampant form of late.

Fullkrug is now beginning to replicate those displays for his national side at the World Cup in Qatar, becoming something of a “hero” for Hansi Flick’s men, in the words of journalist Jack Otway, following his impact against Spain last time out.

That outing saw the three-cap throwback – who also scored on debut against Oman in the build-up to the tournament – net a vital late strike to draw the 2014 champions level, firing in emphatically on the angle to get valuable points on the board for his country.

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That showing saw the striker lauded by compatriot Miroslav Klose, with the all-time leading scorer in the competition’s history notably stating:

“He has a certain presence in the penalty box and a good nose for situations. He brings a good package for a striker: good finishing inside the box, he’s two-footed and strong with headers.”

Fullkrug could well prove to be something of a surprise package as the tournament progresses – potentially in the mould of Italy icon Toto Schillaci at Italia ’90 – having come from nowhere to now emerge as a leading presence for both his club and his country.

Amid that meteoric rise, Newcastle may well feel they had something of a blunder by not getting a deal over the line.