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Newcastle can find their own Rio Ferdinand in Maxence Lacroix

Newcastle United are one game away from the end of their 2021/22 Premier League campaign and attention will then turn to the summer transfer window.

The Magpies have avoided the drop down to the Championship this season and will be playing in the top-flight again next term.

Eddie Howe was backed in January as PIF brought in a host of fresh additions to bolster the squad and it will now be interesting to see who they look to bring in to improve it further.

One player the Magpies have recently been linked with a swoop for is Wolfsburg centre-back Maxence Lacroix, who reportedly has a release clause of £34m (€40m) in his contract, as PIF plot a swoop for the gem.

BBC Sport writer Raj Chohan claimed, earlier this season, that the Frenchman is a “top tier CB talent” and with that in mind, he could be Eddie Howe’s own Rio Ferdinand at St. James’ Park.

Do Newcastle need a new centre-back?

Yes

Yes

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On the official Bundesliga website, the defender has been compared to the Old Trafford legend: “A centre-back cut from the ‘tall and lean’ mould, rather than ‘big and hulky’ variety, Lacroix has a certain grace on the ball that is reminiscent of former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand in his prime.

“Similarly able to glide out of defence and pick a forward pass to a teammate, his elegance masks a steely will to win and a healthy aggression. In 2020/21, for example, he was among the top 30 players league-wide for passing accuracy (87 per cent) while also coming out on top in an impressive 59 per cent of his tackles.”

This is high praise of the Frenchman as Ferdinand enjoyed a terrific career in England. He won the title six times with the Red Devils and was named in the PFA Team of the Year on six occasions – showing that he was one of the best defenders in the Premier League for the best part of a decade.

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Whether Lacroix will be able to reach those heights remains to be seen, but he has a similar style of play – as the Bundesliga site explains – and he excels at reading the game and intercepting passes. He ranks in the 99th percentile for interceptions made in Europe’s top five leagues with a whopping 4.15 per 90 – as per FBRef.

In the German top-flight this season, he has averaged a SofaScore rating of 6.99. This shows that he has been able to deliver quality performances on a consistent basis and he has the scope to develop his game, given that he turned 22 last month.

This means that Howe can help him to fulfil his potential and become the French version of Rio Ferdinand for the head coach on Tyneside.

AND in other news, Howe can get SJP rocking with NUFC swoop for £21m predator with the “scoring nose”…

Article title: Newcastle can find their own Rio Ferdinand in Maxence Lacroix

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