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Newcastle: Ferland Mendy could be Howe’s very own Robertson

There is an overarching sense that Newcastle United are teetering on the cusp of greatness, having already made incredible improvements to a side that languished near the pit of the Premier League before the £300m Saudi-led takeover of the club in October 2021.

Under the tutelage of the vibrant and exciting Eddie Howe, the Magpies have exhibited a level of footballing intellect that bodes well for future exploits, with the signings over the past two transfer windows falling into the category of shrewd acquisition, rather than bid with reckless abandon.

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Under the watchful eye of sporting director Dan Ashworth, the Tyneside outfit parted with roughly £89.5m last January and £120m this summer, though the signings forged have been considered and calculated, and the club’s league position is a reflection of that approach.

Perching in third place after 17 matches in the division, with just one defeat all term, not even Howe could have expected the outfit to have established such an exemplary base after such little time, but the cohesion and fluidity is striking.

And now, with the January transfer window’s hatches flung wide open, there has been consideration for a marquee swoop in the mould of Real Madrid left-back Ferland Mendy, with French outlet Foot Mercato stating that the Magpies are indeed interested in striking a deal with the French ace, who signed for Los Blancos from Olympique Lyonnais for £47m.

Should he arrive at St. James’s Park, the “amazing” marauder – as once hailed by former Real teammate and compatriot Raphael Varane – could well be able to emulate the success of Liverpool’s Andy Robertson, who recently provided his 54th assist in the Premier League – the most from a defender in the division’s history.

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As per FBref, Mendy ranks in the top percentile for pass completion and the top 11% for dribbles completed when compared to full-backs across Europe’s top five leagues – indicating a Robertson-esque ball-playing and transitional aptitude that will pay dividends for Howe as he looks to inject further dimensions into his team’s attack.

It is true that the Scot boasts a far greater rate of productivity on the offensive front, but Mendy holds all the tools to become a force at a side that is showing no rate of slowing down. After all, the former’s assist count of ten during his time at Hull City is precisely the same as the Frenchman has managed in the Spanish capital, albeit from eight fewer outings.

Even if he can’t quite find the same level of creative flair in English football, the Madrid star’s refined and all-encompassing arsenal would be a massive improvement on Dan Burn, who is a solid defender, but not a spectacular attacker.