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Newcastle: Howe can finally ditch Fraser by signing Solly March

For all the talk of potential incomings at Newcastle United this month, it may also prove an opportune time for manager Eddie Howe to shift some of the ‘deadwood’ from his squad, with there undoubtedly a handful of fringe assets that could be on their way before the end of the window.

One of those that is seemingly surplus to requirements is diminutive winger, Ryan Fraser, with Football Insider naming the 28-year-old as one of four players that could be allowed to depart St James’ Park in the coming weeks.

The Athletic’s Chris Waugh has now corroborated that claim by revealing on Monday that the Scotland international “can leave” the club before the deadline, with the former Bournemouth man viewed as one of the more “sellable assets” that Howe is looking to move on.

The suggestion is that the 26-cap dud had been keen to move on over the summer only for the northeast side’s failure to land a new winger having put paid to an exit, albeit with Fraser having since gone on to start just three league games this season.

A loan or permanent exit is now seemingly on the cards, with the 5 foot 4 speedster having not featured since October, having also failed to provide a single goal involvement all season.

The struggling asset has been a rather underwhelming addition since signing from the Cherries on a free transfer back in 2020, with his injury-hit stint at St James’ Park seeing him score just three goals and provide only six assists in 59 games in total.

As such, it does appear that a departure this month would be the best scenario for all parties, with that exit set to be hastened if the Tynesiders are able to secure a notable replacement to bolster the attacking ranks.

According to 90min, one man who could well be a target for Newcastle is Brighton and Hove Albion star, Solly March, with both Howe and sporting director Dan Ashworth said to be “admirers” of the 28-year-old, as per journalist Graeme Bailey.

Although the report outlines that the Seagulls are looking to tie the winger down to a new deal, the Englishman is currently facing an uncertain future with only 18 months remaining on his existing contract.

The 5 foot 11 dynamo has warranted such interest as a result of his sparkling form under Roberto De Zerbi this season, having scored four goals and provided four assists in 18 league appearances thus far, including six goal involvements in his last four league games.

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The Eastbourne native was particularly impressive in the recent, crushing victory over Liverpool at the Amex, scoring twice and registering one assist in that 3-0 triumph, while also providing four key passes to illustrate his creative brilliance.

That “exceptional” performance, in the words of journalist Ryan Taylor, has epitomised the remarkable hot streak that March is enjoying of late, with the £40k-per-week man also now comparing favourably to his European peers, as he ranks in the top 2% for touches in the attacking penalty area, the top 4% for progressive passes received and the top 15% for dribbles completed.

Those standout statistics would appear to indicate the devastating impact that the one-time Lewes man is having in the final third at present, with that coming in stark contrast to Fraser who ranks in the bottom 23%, the bottom 18% and the bottom 1% for those same three metrics, respectively.

That would indicate that Howe could secure a notable improvement if he is to ditch the Scotsman in favour of the Brighton hotshot in the near future.