An update has emerged regarding Newcastle United’s reported transfer interest in Manchester City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko.
According to The Northern Echo, the Magpies could make an ‘ambitious’ swoop for the Ukraine international in the January transfer window.
The report claims that the Toon Army could move for Zinchenko if he continues to play a supporting role at the Etihad Stadium in the coming weeks.
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe must secure a deal to sign the left-back as it could allow him to axe Matt Ritchie from the starting XI.
The Scottish full-back has been in dire form since the start of last season, and the prospective signing of Zinchenko could leave him on the bench or playing further up the field. He has averaged a poor WhoScored rating of 6.60 in the Premier League this season, slightly down from the 6.64 he managed in the 2020/21 campaign, showing that he has been unable to consistently turn in impressive performances in the top flight.
Meanwhile, Zinchenko averaged a WhoScored rating of 6.84 in 20 Premier League appearances for Man City last season, with his score weighed down slightly by five of those games coming as a substitute. At the European Championship in the summer, he averaged a superb score of 6.98 in five matches as he made four tackles and interceptions per game in helping Ukraine to the quarter-finals.
City boss Pep Guardiola previously hailed the 24-year-old’s ‘exceptional’ quality and pointed out the standard of player he is able to handle as a defender.
The Spaniard said: “He is always focused, always concentrated. As a left-back he fights against [Mohamed] Salah, [Marcus] Rashford, [Angel] Di Maria – the toughest opponents and he doesn’t make mistakes. His quality with the ball is exceptional, we know it…”
This shows that the £25.2m-rated beast has the ability to perform consistently at the top level to a good standard, in comparison to Ritchie’s sub-par displays for the Magpies over the last 18 months. Therefore, signing Zinchenko could allow Howe to axe the Scot from the starting XI and potentially leave him on the bench in a reserve role, with the Ukrainian hopefully becoming a regular in the team.
It is now down to PIF and Howe to make sure that they can convince him to make the switch to Tyneside. He has not started a single league match for City this season and the prospect of playing week in, week out could potentially be tempting for the 24-year-old.