An update has emerged on Newcastle’s transfer plans for January, regarding Bournemouth centre-back Lloyd Kelly…
According to 90Min, the Magpies are interested in a deal for the Cherries defender as they look for alternative options to Burnley’s James Tarkowski.
The Clarets centre-back is said to be an unlikely target due to Burnley being unwilling to sell to a rival, with Kelly now being eyed instead.
Eddie Howe must ensure that he is reunited with the England under-21 international, having managed him at Bournemouth, as he could be a superb addition to the squad. His arrival could end being a dream deal as he could form a strong bond with Jamaal Lascelles at centre-back.
The £9m-rated Cherries beast has averaged an excellent SofaScore rating of 7.11 in the Championship this season, winning 64% of his duels and making an outstanding 5.2 clearances per game. This shows that he is playing to a high level in the second tier and could be ready to make the jump to the Premier League.
Ex-Bournemouth coach Jonathan Woodgate previously hailed Kelly as a ‘Rolls-Royce’ of a defender and pointed to his pace as an eye-catching attribute. He said:
“He’s got talent. He’s got a lot of attributes which Premier League teams look at. But he needs to be consistent week in, week out now.
“At the minute he just looks like a bit of a Rolls-Royce doesn’t he? He looked very, very good (against Bristol City).
“I was impressed to be honest with you, especially when (Antoine) Semenyo tried to run him down the line and Semenyo gave him two yards and Lloydy overtook him. It’s eye-catching when things like that happen, especially as a fellow defender. When you see things like that, it’s like ‘you’ve got a bit’.”
This highlights one of the reasons why he could form a formidable partnership with Lascelles at the back. The Magpies skipper is not renowned for his turn of pace and these comments from Woodgate suggest that Kelly could be the sweeper of the two and cover runs in-behind, allowing Lascelles to avoid being caught out due to a lack of pace.
It could also allow Howe to deploy a higher line across his defence as the pace of Kelly would facilitate it. Playing a high line with slow centre-backs is a recipe for disaster due to how easy it would be to turn them and get in-behind, but having a defender who can cover ground quickly will alleviate that particular issue. Therefore, the arrival of Kelly could get the best out of Lascelles and be a dream signing for Howe…