Newcastle United made four additions to their squad over the summer transfer window as they looked to bolster their team after the 2021/22 campaign.
Dan Ashworth backed Magpies boss Eddie Howe by bringing in Sven Botman, Nick Pope, Matt Targett, and Alexander Isak on permanent deals, whilst Loris Karius has since been signed on a free transfer to negate an injury to Karl Darlow.
This came after PIF splashed the cash in January to sign Dan Burn, Bruno Guimaraes, Chris Wood, and Kieran Trippier, whilst they also brought in Targett on loan prior to his full-time switch in the summer.
However, Ashworth may live to regret missing out on one player Newcastle were reportedly keen on bringing to St. James’ Park prior to this season.
Earlier this year, Record reported that the Magpies were one of the clubs interested in signing Portuguese international Joao Palhinha from Sporting. Manchester United, Tottenham, and Wolves were also named as potential suitors for the enforcer, who had caught the eye in his home country during the 2021/22 campaign.
He has started all seven of their matches in the top-flight and has averaged a SofaScore rating of 7.13 – a score only Joelinton (7.20) can better among Newcastle’s midfielders – with reporter Steve Wilson describing him as “outstanding“.
Fulham supporter Alex Harris described him as the “real deal” and the former Sporting man’s impressive statistics in the top-flight back that up as he has been one of the best performers in the division in terms of defending, whilst he has also chipped in with two goals.
Newcastle reporter Dominic Scurr noted after the club’s draw with Bournemouth that Bruno Guimaraes was, somewhat, wasted as he was forced to play in a number six role, due to the injury to Jonjo Shelvey and the departure of Isaac Hayden in the summer.
Signing Palhinha from Sporting would have given the Magpies a natural holding midfielder who could allow the likes of Joelinton and Guimaraes to go forward and do what they do best in the middle and final third, which is why not signing him was a howler by Ashworth.
The Fulham star has now proven that he is Premier League quality and the sporting director may rue his decision not to swoop for the 27-year-old more and more as the season goes on.