Newcastle United already appear to need a minor miracle in order to maintain their Premier League status this season, despite becoming the richest club in world football following their Saudi-backed takeover.
Eddie Howe’s charges are currently sitting six points adrift at the foot of the top-flight table after failing to win any of their opening 14 fixtures, picking up just seven points from a possible 42.
It’s clear to see that a raft of new players will be needed in the upcoming January transfer window if the Magpies are to pull off a great escape, but attracting big-name stars to St. James’ Park at this moment in time may be easier said than done.
The lure of a relegation fight while playing alongside the likes of Ciaran Clark and Dwight Gayle is unlikely to appeal to elite-level performers, yet adding a couple of extra zeroes on the end of a cheque may just do the trick.
And, according to The Athletic, that’s exactly what Newcastle’s hierarchy are planning to do for Inter midfielder Marcelo Brozovic.
“Backed by their new Saudi Arabian owners, the word is that Newcastle United are willing to pay Brozovic ‘crazy money’,” read a recent report, and the arrival of the 29-year-old maestro could be the catalyst required to save their season.
In recent years, Newcastle’s engine room has been a particular area of weakness. Jonjo Shelvey’s inconsistency, discipline issues and lack of work rate make him a manager’s nightmare, while the Longstaff brothers have failed to build on their early promise.
Meanwhile, the arrivals of Miguel Almiron and Jeff Hendrick have failed to spark the midfield into life with the former scoring none this term and the latter only notching three times in his entire Toon career so far.
As a result, Howe must do everything in his power to convince Brozovic to make the switch to the North East of England over the coming months, providing Newcastle with fresh hope in their survival bid.
The Croatia international has established himself as one of Inter’s key stars since his arrival on an initial loan deal back in January 2015, scoring 26 goals and providing 35 assists in 262 appearances for the Nerazzurri.
He played a pivotal part in the San Siro outfit’s first Serie A title success in ten years last term, achieving an impressive 7.03 WhoScored rating for his 33 league outings.
The experienced campaigner recorded 1.6 tackles per game in 2020/21, 1.2 interceptions and 1.4 key passes, placing him in the top five for each metric when compared to his teammates, highlighting his outstanding ability both with and without the ball.
But Brozovic has long been a top-class performer. After putting in several eye-catching displays earlier in his career, former Inter boss Roberto Mancini lauded his prized asset, saying: “If Brozovic were to continue like this, he would become one of the best.
“We don’t want to sell him, even if faced with a great offer. He must work, but he has incredible quality.”
Therefore, Newcastle and Howe must end their midfield woes by bringing Brozovic to St. James’ Park in the winter window, providing a solid platform to build from and paving the way for other household names to follow.