Newcastle United have less than a week left in the summer transfer window to complete any remaining deals that they want to do.
The deadline is on Thursday and the Magpies are reportedly looking to add a couple more players to their squad before the window slams shut.
Dan Ashworth has brought in Alexander Isak, Matt Targett, Sven Botman, and Nick Pope to the squad so far and this means that the only area of the squad they are yet to improve is the midfield.
Earlier this summer, the club sanctioned the exit of holding midfielder Isaac Hayden on loan to Norwich, with the Championship side having an obligation to sign him permanently if certain clauses are met.
He played 14 times for the Toon in the Premier League last term, starting 12 of those games, before suffering a knee injury that ended his campaign. The enforcer made 3.0 tackles and interceptions per game whilst completing 79% of his passes in that time as he provided a screen in front of the back four.
In the 2020/21 season, Hayden played 24 games and averaged 4.0 tackles and interceptions per outing – topping the squad in both defensive statistics. This shows that, at his best, he was a destroyer in the middle of the park for the Magpies.
Newcastle could now find a dream replacement for him by snapping up a deal to sign 21-year-old Kouadio Kone from Borussia Monchengladbach.
The club are reportedly interested in signing the midfielder this summer but will have to work hard to convince the German side to part ways with him as they are currently keen to keep hold of their midfield star.
This high praise is backed up by his eye-catching statistics in Germany. He won the seventh-most duels in the entire Bundesliga in the 2021/22 campaign and made 3.6 tackles and interceptions per game as a holding midfielder for Gladbach.
Kone has had a strong start to the current campaign with 3.6 tackles and interceptions per match and an average SofaScore rating of 6.95, whilst completing 89% of his passes. Only four Newcastle players averaged a higher score than that in the Premier League in 2021/22, and all four of them were January additions.
This suggests that he could be an upgrade on Eddie Howe’s current midfield options when it comes to winning the ball back and disrupting opposition attacks at a similar rate as Hayden used to do.
At the age of 21, Kone is also a prospect who could come in with a view to him progressing over time and increasing his importance, and value.
Therefore, he could be a dream replacement for Hayden as he has several years left ahead of him to develop and could be the long-term defensive midfielder for the Toon.
His passing accuracy sitting at 10% better than the Englishman’s also suggests that he would be a big upgrade in possession as he is more reliable on the ball and can help to build up attacks through the thirds.