The Magpies have only won one of their games this season but have also lost only once, with four draws taking them to seven points as it stands.
One of their standout performers in the top-flight so far has been Brazilian central midfielder Joelinton. The enforcer has averaged a superb SofaScore rating of 7.23, making 4.5 tackles and interceptions per game.
This comes after he averaged 3.1 tackles and interceptions per match in the 2021/22 campaign. He was converted into a midfielder midway through the season by Howe, after struggling whilst playing out wide or as a striker, and has been a machine in the middle of the park ever since.
Newcastle could now land their next Joelinton by securing a January deal to sign Vasco de Gama midfielder Andrey Santos, who is a reported target for the club ahead of the next transfer window.
The Brazilian outfit are said to be demanding a fee in the region of £30m for the teenager and that the Magpies may be willing to meet that price tag heading into the second half of the campaign.
Santos is a defensive-minded battler in the middle of the park, like Newcastle’s Joelinton, and has shown great promise in his short career to date. In Serie B in 2022, the 18-year-old has averaged a SofaScore rating of 7.17 across 24 appearances – making 3.7 tackles and interceptions per match.
He would also suit Howe’s style of play at St. James’ Park. The Toon boss wants his team to press aggressively and high up the pitch and football talent scout Jacek Kulig described him as a “pressing machine“, whilst also dubbing him a “fantastic” talent.
This suggests that he is capable of operating effectively in that position for the Magpies as his style suits the way that Howe wants his side to play out of possession.
Joelinton is a similar player in the sense that he also excels at this part of the game. Journalist Chris Waugh stated that he “was everywhere” against Manchester United earlier this year and Mark Douglas named him as one of the Newcastle players who made the team’s pressing a “joy to watch“.
Therefore, Dan Ashworth and Howe could unearth their next tough-tackling, high-intensity, Brazilian presser in midfield by signing Santos in January.