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Newcastle: Howe could land his own Saka with Kvaratskhelia swoop

Newcastle United have had a phenomenal start to their Premier League campaign and Eddie Howe will surely be delighted about the position his team has got themselves in after just 12 months since his arrival at St James’ Park.

The Magpies are currently third in the league table ahead of their return to action on Boxing Day against Leicester City – losing just one game over their first 15 outings.

Not even the most optimistic Newcastle supporter could have predicted how quickly the team has improved and climbed the table after being stuck at the bottom of the table this time last year.

Now the former AFC Bournemouth boss will take on the challenge of retaining Newcastle’s top-four spot and securing Champions League football over the second half of the season.

As a result, adding depth to the squad could be a wise move for Howe when the transfer market reopens next month as bolstering key areas of the pitch could boost Newcastle’s chances of competing on all fronts.

The North East club qualified for the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup earlier this week and remain in the FA Cup too, so bringing in some new players in January could help Howe rotate his team whilst maintaining the quality on the pitch.

One player who has been linked with a move to St James’ Park is Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and the Napoli winger could be just what the team needs to retain their successful run.

Over 12 Serie A appearances so far this season, Kvaratskhelia has scored six goals, registered five assists and created eight big chances, as well as averaging 2.8 shots per game, 1.9 key passes, 1.6 successful dribbles and 4.4 duels won per game.

The Georgia sensation – who was dubbed “cheeky” by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp – ranks in the top 11% of his positional peers across the top five European leagues for non-penalty goals, shots in total, assists and shot-creating actions, proving that he could be a huge prospect for Newcastle in the attacking threat.

Howe could even land his own Bukayo Saka with the signing of the 21-year-old talent as the Arsenal star is named as one of the most comparable players to Kvaratskhelia over the last 12 months, according to FBRef.

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The wide-forward pair share many similarities in their output over the season so far including goal contributions (11 v 10), pass completion rate (77.3% v 78.3%), shot-creating actions (58 v 57) and goal-creating actions per 90 minutes (1.14 v 1.00).

With that being said, the signing of Kvaratskhelia – who is valued at an eye-watering €100m (£88m) – would be a great piece of business for Newcastle as they aim to continue their dominance in the top flight over the remainder of the season.