Newcastle United may well be preparing to use this upcoming break from competitive action to consider any potential moves in the January window, with rumours abound that the Magpies could be looking to strengthen once the market re-opens.
The name that remains on everybody’s lips at present is that of James Maddison, with the 25-year-old – who was recently named in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the World Cup – having been a target over the summer.
The suggestion at the time was that the northeast side had seen a £50m offer rejected by Leicester City for the playmaker, with the Midlands outfit demanding upwards of £60m if they were to part ways with their prized asset.
Despite the deal ultimately failing to come to fruition, the latest suggestion is that the St James’ Park outfit could look to make another approach in the New Year, with the former Norwich City man having just over 18 months left on his current deal at the King Power Stadium.
There is, however, a potential ideal alternative to Maddison in the form of his Three Lions colleague, Mason Mount, with Eddie Howe and co potentially able to capitalise on the uncertainty surrounding the 23-year-old’s contract at Chelsea.
Reports this week suggested that talks over an extension for the former Derby County loanee have hit something of a stalemate, with the £79m-rated ace also having just over a year and a half left on his current deal.
There had been reports prior to the summer window linking the Portsmouth-born sensation with an exit, with Newcastle named as one potential suitor as a result of Howe’s admiration for the player, having seemingly attempted to sign the youngster during his time in charge at Bournemouth.
While the 32-cap gem is currently part of a struggling Blues side, he does boast a solid haul of eight goal involvements in 21 games in all competitions, including four assists in just six Champions League group games.
A European champion during his time at Stamford Bridge, Mount has been performing on a consistent basis at the elite level over the past few years, having been first handed a shot in the first-team in west London by Frank Lampard back in 2019.
Since then, the dynamic ace – who has been dubbed a “mad player” by pundit Rio Ferdinand – has netted 32 goals and provided 37 assists in 181 games across all fronts, with that record somewhat similar to Maddison (52 goals and 36 assists in 185 games at Leicester), albeit with the latter man slightly more prolific in front of goal.
The two men – who can both operate in an attacking midfield role or on the flanks – notably share a number of stylistic and statistical similarities, as per FBref, with Mount averaging 0.32 assists per game, while his compatriot averages just slightly more at 0.38.
The pair have also showcased a defensive capability with Maddison ranking in the top 19% for tackles made among those in his position in Europe, while the Chelsea starlet ranks in the top 12% in that metric, as a sign of his willingness to put in the hard yards as well as impact play offensively.
As this illustrates, the similarity between the two could ensure that Mount is a viable alternative for Newcastle to that of the Foxes’ talisman, with Howe and co potentially able to try and tempt either of the two contract rebels into making a switch.