Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Newcastle make contact over Alejandro Balde swoop

Newcastle United are believed to be eyeing a move for Barcelona starlet, Alejandro Balde, with the teenager facing an uncertain future at Camp Nou.

What’s the word?

According to Sport, the Magpies – as well as Premier League rivals Arsenal – have ‘contacted’ the 19-year-old’s representatives ahead of a possible swoop, with the defender having yet to commit to the La Liga giants for the long-term.

The report suggests that the Catalan outfit’s financial constraints have made it difficult to agree fresh terms with the left-back, ensuring that the Spaniard’s future could lie elsewhere with only 18 months remaining on his existing deal.

His current side are, however, seemingly intent on trying to come to an agreement this month over an extension, with Xavi Hernandez and co not believed to be keen on sanctioning a sale at present.

Targett upgrade

The addition of Balde – who could reportedly cost in the region of £31m if he is to depart any time soon – could well see Newcastle boss Eddie Howe secure a notable upgrade on current St James’ Park asset, Matt Targett, with the Englishman having been unable to secure a regular role in the side this term.

The former Aston Villa man – who made the move to Tyneside on an initial loan deal a year ago – has been restricted to just four starts in the league this season, having lost his place to the towering presence of Dan Burn on the left of the defence.

Even when Targett has featured for the northeast side he has offered little in an attacking sense with no goals and assists to his name in 28 games across all fronts, while also notably averaging just 1.1 tackles per game in the league this term, as well as winning only 43% of his ground duels.

Balde, by contrast, may be far less experienced than the 27-year-old although the youngster is already flourishing at senior level, having registered three assists in 26 games for La Blaugrana to date.

Not just an impressive figure going forward, the four-cap sensation – who has been lauded as a “wonderkid” by journalist Ibukun Aluko – has already proved a real asset defensively after averaging 1.5 tackles per game in La Liga and winning 60% of his ground duels.

The emerging prospect’s composure on the ball is also evidenced by the fact that he ranks in the top 1% in Europe among those in his position for pass completion, as well as in the top 9% for dribbles completed to illustrate his attacking thrust.

1 of 10

First up, who scored Newcastle's first goal of 2022?

Targett, by contrast, ranks in just the bottom 26% and the bottom 35% for those same two metrics, respectively, with such failings in possession potentially something of a concern for Howe and co.

With the Tynesiders already having the rock-sold presence of Burn at left-back – with the Englishman having helped the top-four hopefuls concede just 11 league goals this term – it could well be useful to have a more attack-minded alternative to provide the Magpies boss with tactical flexibility.

Targett, evidently, is not the man for that job – as illustrated by his lack of goal contributions – hence the potential need for Newcastle to tempt Balde into making the switch to England in the coming weeks.