Newcastle United managed to bounce back to the Premier League at the first time of asking and are already making moves to ensure that’s where they’ll stay.
Fresh off the back of pipping Brighton and Hove Albion to the title, manager Rafa Benitez has wasted no time in identifying new targets in a bid to establish the Magpies in the top flight once more. The Mirror has reported Newcastle are one of the clubs looking at Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs.
Left-back has been a problem for the Magpies in recent times. While Phil Dummett has been serviceable in defence for a number of years, he offers very little going forward – something which seems to be more important than ever in the modern game.
Gibbs, who is valued at £8.5m by transfermarkt.com, has struggled to establish himself at Arsenal over the past few seasons and made only eight league starts after missing parts of the campaign with injury.
The 27-year-old has never really fulfilled his potential since breaking into the first-team back in 2008 and may well be looking to move following the arrival of Sead Kolasinac and the form of Nacho Monreal.
He would also be perfect for Newcastle as a more attacking full-back than Dummett, having excelled as a wing-back when Arsene Wenger changed to three-at-the-back, bagging three assists in 2017.
While signings like this look good on paper however, it’s also important to consider how well they will gel with the current squad.
Newcastle’s downfall in the past has come from signing a number of players not used to the Premier League, most notably overseas flops like Remy Cabella and Florian Thauvin.
Thankfully for the Magpies, Gibbs looks like a player in the perfect mould.
The left-back has made over 200 appearances for Arsenal, has played in Europe for a number of seasons and even has 10 England caps to his name.
Furthermore, he will be hungry to prove himself among the best full-backs in the league and possibly even salvage his international career with regular game time.
He may not currently be on the level of players like Danny Rose or Ryan Bertrand, but Gibbs has the talent to be considered in the top half of Premier League left-backs – something which would be ideal for Newcastle.
We’ve already seen how well an Arsenal player with a point to prove can play, with Isaac Hayden excelling in black and white stripes this season despite never getting near the first team at the Emirates.
Should Benitez manage something similar in Gibbs, Newcastle could well make waves on their return to the top-flight in 17/18.