Jacob Murphy must seize on DeAndre Yedlin’s imminent move to Galatasaray and lock down the right-back spot in Steve Bruce’s Newcastle United squad.
According to ESPN, Yedlin will travel to Istanbul to carry out his medical after agreeing to join the Super Lig giants on a three-and-a-half-year contract.
Newcastle have agreed a fee with Galatasaray to part with the United States international ahead of Monday night’s deadline, as Yedlin had entered into the final six-months of his £30,000-per-week deal.
Yedlin’s original preference had been to stay at St. James’ Park and he was offered assurances that he would feature in the remainder of the season, but will depart after the Toon opted against tabling a new contract offer.
The fee Galatasaray will pay Newcastle for Yedlin is thought to be based on his performances and appearances for the Turk Telekom Stadium natives, who currently trail rivals Fenerbahce and Besiktas in a close-fought battle for the Super Lig title.
Yedlin had been made available for a transfer last summer amid interest from Turkish and Major League Soccer outfits, with Bruce open to the fact that he would face a battle to displace Javier Manquillo and Emil Krafth in the first-team picture.
The 27-year-old ultimately had to wait until December’s 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion to make his Premier League season debut, playing the final four minutes, before starting five of the Toon’ following seven top-flight fixtures. A visa issue meant he last featured on January 12th.
Bruce had persisted with Manquillo and Krafth rotating duties at right-back before offering Yedlin a recall over the festive period, while occasionally turning to Murphy to play out of position with Miguel Almiron frequently fielded on the wing.
Manquillo was the one favoured for Saturday’s 2-0 win over Everton as Newcastle snapped an 11-game winless run, but Murphy must now seize on Yedlin’s exit if he is to secure himself a regular starting role at St. James’ Park for the first time in his Magpies career.
Bruce had no place for Murphy in his matchday squad at Goodison Park, for only the third time all season and first since September, and has chosen to start the 25-year-old in just eight of his 13 Premier League outings this term. Only during the 2017/18 campaign when Rafa Benitez handed the £3m-rated maestro 13 starts in 25 games, has he opened more fixtures.
Of those starts under Bruce, half have come at right-back and three of which have returned Murphy’s best match ratings from WhoScored, having impressed enough to warrant a 7.74 at Wolves, a 7.08 against Leeds and a 7.01 at home to Everton.
For comparison, three of his four starts at right-midfield have returned scores below 6.3, including a 6.05 when beaten by Chelsea.
Manquillo earned a 6.99 rating during Saturday’s win over Everton for his third-best score of the season – a term-high 7.38 was achieved at West Ham on the opening day – while Krafth enjoyed his campaign-best showing at home to Burnley in October when awarded a 6.9.
Murphy has further offered a higher interceptions per game (1.5) score than Krafth (1.3) and Manquillo (0.7), and has shown that he is able to drive play up the field more successfully after snatching possession with 3.5 out of 5.5 dribbles to the Sweden international’s 0.3/0.5 and Spaniard’s 0/0.9, per WhoScored.
The 25-year-old is additionally more productive at the top of the pitch with 0.8 accurate crosses from 3.1 deliveries a game to Krafth’s 0.3/2.8 and Manquillo’s 0.7/3.1, for a higher rate of key passes with 0.8 to 0.5 and 0.6 respectively.
So, if Murphy is to establish himself anywhere in Bruce’s plans, it is likely to be at right-back, and thus he must seize on Yedlin’s departure to prove himself as more than just occasional cover.
AND in other news – Exclusive: Rob Lee slams “laughable” Newcastle and Steve Bruce decision…