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Newcastle showing interest in Moises Caicedo

Newcastle United are believed to be plotting a move for Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Moises Caicedo ahead of the January transfer window, according to the latest reports.

What’s the word?

As per The Telegraph’s Luke Edwards, the Ecuadorian international is a player whom the Magpies are eyeing at present as they look to strengthen their midfield ranks, with manager Eddie Howe said to be keen on bringing in a figure with Premier League experience.

The report suggests that there is now more ‘urgency’ to land a new midfield addition after long-serving ace Jonjo Shelvey was ruled out for an extended period of time, albeit with there said to be doubts among the St James’ Park hierarchy about investing heavily next month.

The piece adds that any move for the Seagulls starlet could well be something of a ‘long shot’ due to the playmaker’s £60m plus asking price, while the Amex outfit may also be ‘reluctant’ to negotiate with the Tynesiders after losing sporting director Dan Ashworth to the northeast side earlier this year.

This follows an earlier claim from transfer guru Fabrizio Romano which revealed that Howe and co are “following” the 28-cap maestro following his standout form of late.

Caicedo is a big Shelvey upgrade

As alluded to above, the search for a new acquisition in the centre of the park has seemingly been intensified following the cruel injury blow to the aforementioned Shelvey, with the 30-year-old set to be out for up to eight weeks with a calf issue.

The suggestion is that absence could well spell the end of the Englishman’s time at the club, with the former Swansea City man reportedly needing to start two more games to trigger a new one-year extension, with just a matter of months remaining on his existing deal.

The one-time Liverpool ace has only featured five times in all competitions so far this season – totalling just 122 minutes – having only recently made his return after sustaining a hamstring injury during pre-season.

With the experienced figure now somewhat unreliable as far as Howe is concerned, Newcastle could well secure a notable upgrade with the signing of Caicedo, with the exciting “leader“, as described by talent scout Jacek Kulig, having blossomed for Brighton of late.

Lauded as a “crown jewel” by football historian Enrico Castro-Montes, the youngster has been particularly impressive in the early months of the current campaign, averaging 3.0 tackles and 1.3 interceptions per game in the top-flight.

The 5 foot 10 machine also compares favourably to those in his position in Europe, notably showcasing his ball-winning prowess as he ranks in the top 16% for tackles made, with Shelvey only ranking in the bottom 19% in that regard.

Equally, while the latter man has been plagued by injury of late, Caicedo has been a regular fixture in Roberto Di Zerbi’s side having started all 15 league games for the club this season, while also starting the final eight league games of last season.

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Such consistency will no doubt be an appealing prospect for Howe and co, while the San Domingo-born ace’s relative youth should also mean that he proves a long-term fit for the Magpies, with Shelvey – who turns 31 in February – seemingly approaching the latter stages of his career.

As such, turning to Caicedo could well prove to be the big midfield upgrade that Newcastle are craving.