Newcastle United are less than two weeks away from entering their first transfer window under the ownership of PIF and fans may be excited about what could be to come under the Saudi-Arabian consortium.
We have seen plenty of transfer speculation in recent weeks building up to January, with the Magpies reportedly looking at players to come in and bolster their squad ahead of the second half of the season.
However, the players currently at the club must also be taken into account as any new signing will need to take up a previously occupied spot in the XI and squad.
One player who could finally be axed from the team is left-back Matt Ritchie. Newcastle are, according to the Daily Mail, interested in a deal to sign Lucas Digne from Everton and the Frenchman’s arrival would allow Eddie Howe to jettison the Scot by either leaving him on the bench or selling him.
Ritchie has been in poor form this season and signing a new player in his position could solve a problem area for the Magpies. He has averaged a dismal WhoScored rating of 6.43 in 16 Premier League outings this season, which shows that he has struggled to maintain a high standard throughout the campaign.
In the 2020/21 term, he averaged a higher – albeit uninspiring – score of 6.64. This suggests that he has not been performing well over the past 18 months and fans would surely love to see Howe finally axe him from the team by bringing Digne in.
The Blues defender averaged a WhoScored rating of 7.08 in the top-flight last season, after averaging scores of 7.38 and 7.16 in the two previous years. This shows that he can consistently churn out excellent displays at this level, making him a sizeable upgrade on Ritchie.
Chelsea and England midfielder Ross Barkley Tweeted earlier this year: “Lucas Digne, wand of a left foot,” seemingly in awe of the defender’s talents.
The £110k-per-week gem’s statistics back up this claim from the former Toffees man, with 18 assists in his first three Premier League campaigns for Everton. He has also set up three goals in his last six starts for France, highlighting the creative threat he can provide from left-back.
Therefore, Howe must now ensure that he can complete a deal for Digne so that he can axe Ritchie from the XI whilst upgrading in his position with a top-class performer who is proven in this division.