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Newcastle will “surely be interested” in Seko Fofana

Newcastle United have been tipped to make a move for RC Lens midfielder, Seko Fofana, with the Magpies believed to be keen to strengthen their midfield options.

What’s the word?

That’s according to journalist Robin Bairner – speaking to GIVEMESPORT – who suggested that a move for the 27-year-old could well be on the cards next summer, should the Ivory Coast international’s current side fail to secure Champions League qualification.

The reliable reporter stated:

“If Lens make the Champions League this year, for example, you could see a player like Seko Fofana staying there, simply because of this bond that they’ve got.

“If they don’t make the top three, then again, potentially next summer, this could be a move that happens. Fofana is a player who has all the attributes to play in England, and Newcastle would surely be interested.

“But I imagine he is a player that most teams in England would be interested in, given what he’s produced. But again, it’s a case of whether Lens can keep up with his ambitions.”

This follows previous reports in the summer window that claimed the Paris-born sensation was a target for those at St James’ Park – as well as fellow Premier League side Arsenal – with the Ligue 1 outfit said to be demanding a fee of around £34m at the time.

Howe’s own De Jong

The eight-cap machine has caught the attention as a result of his sparkling form in France in recent times, having been dubbed “arguably the best midfielder in Ligue 1 over the past 2 years” by writer Zach Lowy.

The “relentless” playmaker – as described by journalist Adam White – has three goals and two assists in just 13 league outings so far this term to help fire his side into European contention, having previously netted ten goals and laid on two assists in all competitions last term.

Something of a “phenom“, in the words of Lowy, Fofana could well be an ideal addition for Eddie Howe’s side, with the aforementioned Bairner having previously stated that the in-form asset would “fit really nicely with Bruno Guimaraes” in the centre of the park.

While potentially not a household name, the 6 foot 1 ace – who was previously on the books at Manchester City and spent time on loan at Fulham – seemingly offers real quality in that midfield berth, with that illustrated by the fact that he shares a number of stylistic and statistical similarities to Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong, as per FBref.

That is evidenced by the attacking threat that the two men offer, with the Netherlands international ranking in the top 15% in Europe for non-penalty goals among those in his position, while Fofana ranks just ahead as he is in the top 11% for that metric.

Equally, the pair also provide real quality in possession as the latter man ranks in the top 11% for pass completion and the top 5% for dribbles completed as a sign of his ability to both retain the ball and also drive his side up the pitch, while De Jong seemingly mirrors that talent as he ranks in the top 8% and the top 16% for the same two metrics, respectively.

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The Dutchman – who was linked with a move to Manchester United throughout the recent window – is no doubt an impressive figure to be compared to, having notably been dubbed a “genius” by manager Xavi earlier this year.

If Newcastle were able to add a De Jong-esque talent to their ranks in the form of Fofana it would seemingly be real coup for Howe and co, with the club now needing to revive their previous summer interest and get a deal secured, be it in January or at the end of the season.