Newcastle United sporting director Dan Ashworth is reportedly interested in strengthening the club’s midfield options this month, with Flamengo gem Joao Gomes having emerged as one potential target for the Magpies.
That’s according to journalist Rudy Galetti, who revealed on Twitter that the 21-year-old is a player of interest for the Tynesiders at present, with the northeast side keen to add further depth in the centre of the park before the close of the window.
The transfer insider stated that: “#Newcastle would like to strengthen – if possible as early as January – the midfield (and the attack as well). Among the names followed by #NUFC, there is also Joao Gomes, #Flamengo midfielder.”
The St James’ Park outfit are clearly keeping a close eye on the Brazilian giants at present, amid reports that the club are also keen on signing Gomes’ teammate, Matheus Franca.
While Gomes may well be something of an unknown quantity to most of a Newcastle persuasion, supporters will likely be intrigued to learn that the Rio-born sensation could prove an ideal heir to compatriot Bruno Guimaraes, having been compared to the former Lyon ace by talent scout, Jacek Kulig.
That likeness is illustrated by the fact that the two men are clearly capable of driving forward from deep from their midfield berths, with Guimaraes ranking averaging 1.54 completed dribbles per 90, while Gomes is only just behind as he averages 1.37 for that same metric.
Equally, the latter man also offers a real ball-winning presence as he averages 4.26 tackles per game, while the current Magpies star averages 3.33 in that regard, having been a truly relentless and industrious presence in Eddie Howe’s midfield of late.
Despite having proven himself something of a “world class” asset during his time in England thus far – according to teammate Dan Burn – Guimaraes may already be destined for pastures new, having attracted interest from Real Madrid in recent times.
As such, turning to Gomes as a long-term replacement for the £40m addition would seemingly be an astute move, with the 5 foot 9 prospect having been lauded for his all-round ability by the aforementioned Kulig, who stated last year:
“João Gomes is such a unique player. Fantastic mix of midfield destroyer, deep-lying playmaker and box-to-box midfielder. Tireless runner, amazing work rate and tenacity mixed with really good technique and playmaking skills. He always gives 100% on the pitch. Warrior.”
That glowing praise is a marker of the playmaker’s undoubted talent, with it unsurprising that he has come onto Ashworth’s radar of late.