Newcastle enjoyed a busy January transfer window as Eddie Howe made a host of fresh additions to his Magpies squad.
Dan Burn, Matt Targett, Kieran Trippier, Bruno Guimaraes and Chris Wood all came through the door as they bolstered their team during PIF’s first chance to show off their spending power.
Attention may now turn to the summer as the club will potentially spend again to compete higher up in the Premier League table if they are able to avoid relegation this term.
La Repubblica (via MilanNews) recently reported that the Toon are one of a number of clubs circling around Franck Kessie heading into the summer, as he is set to become a free agent upon the expiry of his contract with the Serie A side.
Newcastle could find their dream upgrade on Jonjo Shelvey and an excellent partner for Bruno Guimaraes by landing Kessie on a free transfer.
In the Serie A last term, he scored 13 goals and provided four assists. He also averaged 2.6 tackles and interceptions per game, proving that he is a player who can have an impact at both ends of the pitch with his ability to change games in the final third and his robustness defensively.
Milan head coach Stefano Pioli previously lauded the midfielder, saying: “There was some problem at the beginning, then we understood each other and now he is indispensable for my Milan. Even in difficult moments of the game he is always positive and his teammates recognize this.”
Shelvey, meanwhile, managed one goal and three assists, whilst making 2.5 tackles and interceptions per game. This suggests that Kessie could be a major improvement on him as he is far superior in the attacking third of the pitch and on a similar level heading towards his own goal.
The Ivorian international is also four years younger than the former Liverpool man. This means that the machine could have plenty more years ahead of him to develop as a player and exceed what Shelvey has been able to produce in a Magpies shirt, with Eddie Howe potentially being able to improve him on the training pitch.
Along with being an upgrade on Shelvey, he could also slot in nicely alongside Guimaraes. The Brazilian averaged 3.6 tackles and interceptions along with 1.8 key passes per game in Ligue 1 this season for Lyon, which suggests that he is a tough-tackling creative midfielder – compared to Kessie’s tough-tackling, goalscoring, style of play.
They could, therefore, complement each other well as they both look to get stuck in defensively and could work well as a pair off the ball to cut out opposition attacks. On the ball, however, Guimaraes could be tasked with the creative side of the game and leave his teammate to make late runs into the box in an attempt to score, which could make them an exciting pair.