One of the key figures in the rise of Newcastle United in 2022 has been that of January arrival, Dan Burn, with the towering Englishman – and boyhood Magpies fan – having proven a real asset to Eddie Howe’s side of late.
The former Brighton and Hove Albion man may not have been a glamorous addition at the time of his capture, although the 6 foot 6 menace has swiftly endeared himself to the St James’ Park faithful, having also been tipped for a potential inclusion in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the upcoming World Cup.
The versatile ace has typically lined up as something of a makeshift left-back so far this term, helping to form part of what is the meanest defence in the Premier League, with the northeast side having conceded just 11 goals so far this term.
For all the £10.4m-rated man’s defensive quality – notably averaging 3.2 clearances and 1.2 tackles per game from his 14 top-flight outings this season – it remains to be seen if he is a long-term fit on the left of the defence, having offered little in an attacking sense of late.
The £35k-per-week colossus has failed to provide a single goal or assist in the league so far this term, with that lack of creativity also emphasised by the fact that he has averaged just 0.3 key passes per game.
That fact could well ensure that Howe and co are forced to look elsewhere for a more permanent, quality fit at full-back moving forward, with a new recruit having seemingly been a target in that role over the summer, despite securing the permanent addition of former loanee Matt Targett.
One such figure who was believed to be attracting the attention of those at Newcastle in the recent window was Stuttgart star, Borna Sosa, with reports in his native Croatia suggesting that the eight-cap gem was of interest to the Tynesiders and also West Ham United.
While no such move came to fruition, the Magpies could now have been given the green light to make another approach in the New Year, with Sky Sports Germany reporter Florian Plettenberg revealing earlier this week that the 24-year-old “is set to leave” his current side, with the Bundesliga outfit needing to sell in the winter window.
The exciting talent is likely to fetch around €25m (£22m) – depending on his potential displays in Qatar for his country – with that likely set to prove something of a snip for a player who has showcased his attacking quality in recent times.
A player who is “full of assists” – according to CBS reporter Ben Jacobs – Sosa has already racked up a remarkable haul of eight assists in just 13 games in all competitions thus far this season, unsurprisingly ranking in the top 1% for that metric in Europe.
This current campaign has been the norm rather than an anomaly, however, with the £10.7k-per-week machine having also provided nine assists across all fronts last term, as well as a further haul of ten the year prior.
That stunning form has ensured that the Zagreb-born ace now boasts 31 assists in just 96 games for the German side, while 30-year-old Burn has just six assists to his name throughout his whole playing career, including just a solitary goal involvement for the Magpies.
While it may be something of a harsh decision to ditch the latter man from the side in January, the obvious quality of Sosa in the final third should ensure that landing the playmaking defender is something of a no-brainer.