Newcastle United are currently flying high heading into the World Cup break, although that has not prevented talk regarding potential additions in 2023, with Eddie Howe’s squad no doubt still in need of bolstering to provide further quality depth.
One area that has seemingly been a target is a creative addition in the centre of the park, with Leicester City talisman James Maddison having been heavily linked throughout the summer, as well as in recent weeks and months.
The Foxes gem is not the only playmaker who has reportedly caught the eye of the Magpies, with reports in Spain, via Calciomercato, claiming that the Tynesiders are eyeing a potential £40m approach for Real Betis gem, Nabil Fekir, next summer.
The World Cup winner – who had come close to joining fellow Premier League side Liverpool back in 2018 – has been in impressive form for the La Liga outfit in recent seasons, scoring 25 goals and laying on 25 assists in 129 games in all competitions.
The 29-year-old – who previously recorded 115 goal contributions in 193 games at former club Lyon – could well be the creative midfield addition that Howe and co are craving, with the “tremendous” talent, as described by Betis president Angel Haro, likely to add real quality to the club’s ranks.
Any fears over his lack of experience in English football should well be eased by the Frenchman’s likeness to Arsenal skipper, Martin Odegaard, with the pair sharing a number of stylistic and statistical similarities, as per FBref.
That is evidenced by the fact that the latter man averages 5.07 shot-creating actions per game – meaning offensive actions that lead to a shot, such as dribbles, passes, etc – among those in his position in Europe, while Fekir averages only slightly more at 5.6 for the same metric.
The pair are also players willing to take risks as a result of their high ranking with regards to attempted passes, with the La Liga gem ranking in the top 17% for that metric, while Odegaard ranks in the top 19%.
To be compared to the Gunners’ maestro will no doubt pique the interest of Howe and co, with the Norwegian sensation having sparkled at the Emirates of late, playing a pivotal role in Mikel Arteta’s side surging to the top of the table this season with four goals and two assists in 12 league games.
Signing a player such as Fekir could well be Newcastle’s answer to the former Real Madrid starlet, helping the northeast side to try and close the gap on the relentless north Londoners.