Newcastle United are set to miss out on target Nico Schlotterbeck with the Freiburg centre-back close to a move to German giants Borussia Dortmund.
According to 90min, the 22-year-old, who had been a January target for the Toon Army, is set to stay in Germany and make the move up the Bundesliga table to join Dortmund this summer.
The Freiburg defender opted against a move midway through the season in order to fully weigh up his options and will now snub a move to St.James’ Park for the Signal Iduna Park.
With the takeover of Newcastle by PIF, the North East outfit instantly became ambitious, with the upcoming summer transfer window set to see serious spending.
However, it already looks as though the Magpies will miss out on one defensive target in Sven Botman, who could be headed for AC Milan, and now missing out on another isn’t a great start to PIF’s dynasty.
Granted, the major first step was to secure Premier League survival this term which looks all but guaranteed with Newcastle on 40 points with five games remaining.
Moreover, Schlotterbeck would’ve undoubtedly improved Eddie Howes’ side’s defence.
The 22-year-old has been a kingpin in Freiburg’s success this term, with the Black Forest club currently fifth in the German top tier.
Averaging a colossal 81.6 touches per game, the centre-back is incredibly active, making 2.8 interceptions, 2.4 tackles and four clearances a league match, according to SofaScore.
Moreover, the German’s passing is excellent at 81%, averaging 50 passes a match whilst winning 67% of all duels.
Despite newfound solidity over recent months, Newcastle are still of the Premier League’s worst sides defensively, having conceded 55 goals in 33 games. Only Watford, Norwich and Leeds have shipped more.
According to SofaScore, January signing Dan Burn has been the Magpies’ best centre-back this term, but Schlotterbeck’s greater quality is clear to see.
Burn averages 57.3 touches a match whilst making 1.5 interceptions, 1.3 tackles and 4.6 clearances with the Englishman’s passing also at 81%, although the defender averages 35.8 passes.
Furthermore, the 29-year-old wins fewer duels with a 58% success rate.
Despite having serious ambitions, right now Newcastle aren’t the same sort of prospect as Dortmund are and will now have to seek new defensive targets.
However, it is crucial for the football club’s success that Howe and PIF aren’t snubbed again as they look to reshape the structure of the Magpies as missing out on both Botman and Schlotterbeck should be seen as a disaster.