Newcastle United backed Eddie Howe in the transfer market over the summer as they brought in four new signings to improve the team.
Dan Ashworth, in his first window as sporting director of the Magpies, signed Sven Botman, Nick Pope, Matt Targett, and Alexander Isak to give the manager a boost heading into the 2022/23 campaign.
This came after PIF allowed the head coach to sign Bruno Guimaraes, Dan Burn, Chris Wood, and Kieran Trippier in the January transfer window.
The former Bournemouth manager has been heavily backed since arriving at St. James’ Park and it will be interesting to see if the trend continues in January 2023.
It was recently reported that the Magpies may rekindle their interest in signing Dutch central defender Stefan de Vrij from Inter, with the Italian side already preparing for his exit.
They are expecting him to depart at the end of the season, upon the expiry of his contract at the San Siro, but the January window is their last opportunity to recoup a transfer fee for his services.
The £120k-per-week defender, who was once described as a “monster” by his former Lazio teammate Mauricio, is a vastly experienced centre-back who could come in as the perfect partner for Botman at St. James’ Park.
Since the start of the 2015/16 campaign, he has averaged a SofaScore rating of 7.03 or higher in five of his seven seasons in Italy for Lazio and Inter combined. He is now in his eighth year in the country and has averaged 2.7 tackles and interceptions per game, whilst winning 69% of his duels in seven Serie A outings.
These statistics show that he is a physically dominant centre-back who has produced superb performances on a consistent basis in a major European league for the best part of a decade, whilst also playing for his country on a regular basis.
He could, therefore, be a dream partner for Botman as the 22-year-old is still learning the game and could benefit from playing alongside a defender with de Vrij’s experience at the top level, whilst the fact they are compatriots could also help with their partnership on the pitch and how they communicate with each other.
The former Lille man has averaged a SofaScore rating of 6.95 in the Premier League this season in five appearances and has won an eye-catching 75% of his individual duels, which shows that both of the Dutchmen are able to dominate opposition attackers with their physical strength.
Now, imagine how well he could progress by learning from a proven, top-level, performer like de Vrij in the next few years.
Ashworth must now swoop to sign the Inter defender in the January transfer window so that Howe can pair him with Botman in the second half of the season and beyond.