Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce could sign a major upgrade on Jonjo Shelvey in AS Roma midfielder Amadou Diawara.
Reports in recent days have suggested that the Magpies are closing in on a swoop for Arsenal starlet Joe Willock, but it seems that Bruce isn’t finished strengthening his midfield this summer.
According to Italian publication Corriere Dello Sport (via Sport Witness), the Tyneside club have their eye on Diawara, with Roma potentially open to letting him leave as they look to bring in a new central midfielder of their own.
The report adds that fellow Premier League club Wolves are also said to be interested in signing the 24-year-old this summer.
Since his arrival at St James’ Park, it’s fair to say that Newcastle fans haven’t been overly impressed with Shelvey’s performances at the club, and many were particularly critical of him during a Premier League game against Leicester towards the back end of last season.
He managed more yellow cards (seven) than goals and assists (four) in the Premier League, while his passing accuracy was down at a shocking 76.4% – to put that into context, even Jeff Hendrick did better (80.1%).
Diawara, on the other hand, is someone who provides a superb range of passing (he completed just shy of 90% of his passes in the Serie A last season) and also has the defensive tenacity to cover the ground expertly and make challenges – he has averaged an impressive 1.5 tackles and 1.5 interceptions per game over his career, which are both significantly better than Shelvey (1.2 and 0.9 respectively).
The Guinea international also gets dribbled past less often per game and is someone who prefers to keep his passes on the deck, rather than the long-range passes that Shelvey likes to try – he played just 1.2 long balls per game last season compared to Shelvey’s whopping 5.8.
Fabrizio Tazzioli, Diawara’s former coach at Napoli, has waxed lyrical about him, saying: “I saw the guy in training and thought that he is a phenomenon. He is not as strong physically, but better with his feet and has the same presence on the pitch.”
The £17m-rated powerhouse looks clearly better than Shelvey in all the key departments, and with Sean Longstaff’s future at St James’ Park uncertain given his interest from Everton, he could arrive as someone who kills two birds with one stone – an upgrade on Shelvey, and a replacement for Longstaff.
The Magpies must ruthlessly sell Longstaff this summer, with a recent fan poll done on Football FanCast showing that 70% of people thought he should be sold in this summer transfer window (442 votes to 185).
Signing Diawara would give them the perfect chance to do just that.
Meanwhile, Newcastle must ruthlessly sell this ace…