Newcastle United are interested in a deal to bring Manuel Locatelli to St. James’ Park.
That’s according to a report by Italian media outlet CalcioMercatoWeb, who claim that both the Magpies and Arsenal are keeping a very close eye on the situation of the Juventus midfielder ahead of launching a potential bid in the January transfer window.
However, the report goes on to state that, regardless of Massimiliano Allegri’s tenuous position at the club, the Bianconeri’s hierarchy consider the 24-year-old to be non-transferable – unless an offer in the region of €40m (£36m) is submitted.
With Newcastle’s £40m January signing, Bruno Guimaraes, having enjoyed a sensational start to life in the North East, the prospect of Locatelli lining up alongside the Brazil international in the middle of the park will undoubtedly be an extremely exciting thought for both Eddie Howe and supporters of the Magpies alike.
Indeed, over his 17 Premier League appearances last season, the £44m-rated midfielder was in astonishing form, scoring five goals, registering one assist and creating three big chances for his teammates, in addition to taking an average of 1.4 shots – 50% of which hit the target – making 0.7 key passes and completing 1.3 dribbles per game.
The £120k-per-week talent also impressed in metrics more typical of his position, making an average of 2.6 tackles, 0.5 interceptions, 2.6 long balls, completing 86% of his passes and winning 6.2 of his duels – at a success rate of 55% – per fixture.
These returns saw the 24-year-old average a rather remarkable SofaScore match rating of 7.25, not only ranking him as Howe’s second-best performer in the league but also as the 23rd-best player in the division as a whole last time out.
For comparison, over Locatelli’s 31 Serie A appearances last season, the £62m-rated talent was in similarly fine form, scoring three goals, providing four assists and creating two big chances for his teammates, as well as taking an average of 0.7 shots, making 0.6 key passes and completing 0.6 dribbles per game.
The £96k-per-week Italy international also caught the eye in metrics more typical of a defensively-minded midfielder, making an average of 1.4 tackles, 0.7 interceptions, 3.2 long balls, completing 86% of his passes and winning 3.8 of his duels – at a success rate of 51% – per fixture.
These returns saw the 24-year-old – who Alan Rzepa dubbed “sensational“, Jacek Kulig labelled a “dominator” and Raj Chohan claimed is “unreal” – average an extremely impressive SofaScore match rating of 7.01, ranking him as Juve’s eighth-best performer in the top flight of Italian football last time out.
As such, with it being clear to see that both Guimaraes and Locatelli are extremely strong in the tackle, creative in possession and boast a knack for scoring a goal of their own, the prospect of the duo lining up alongside each other in the heart of the Newcastle side is indeed an extremely tantalising one – leading us to believe PIF must do everything they can to beat Arsenal to the signing of the Italian this winter.