In Focus: Newcastle don’t need Fabian Ruiz this month unless Shelvey is leaving

According to reports in Spanish media outlet El Confidencial, Newcastle United have joined Premier League rivals West Ham United in the race to sign Real Betis midfielder Fabian Ruiz, who has a release clause of €15m (£13.1m) and is also admired by Barcelona.

What’s the word, then?

Well, The Telegraph reported on Tuesday that the Irons are considering making a bid for the highly-rated 21-year-old after David Moyes watched him in action against Barcelona at the weekend.

However, El Confidencial now reports that Newcastle, along with English top flight rivals Arsenal, Chelsea and Everton, have also scouted the Spain U21 international, who has enjoyed an impressive campaign for Betis.

How has Ruiz done this season?

He has become a regular for the La Liga outfit following the departure of Dani Ceballos to Real Madrid during the summer, making 17 appearances in all competitions, scoring two goals and providing a further two assists.

The 21-year-old has primarily played in a central midfield role, but he is also able to play in a more advanced position in the middle, while he scored one and assisted another as a left winger in the 4-0 success against Levante in September.

According to WhoScored.com, the 6ft 3in Spanish starlet’s main strengths are his long shots, dribbling, passing and ability to make key passes, and he has an overall passing accuracy of 87.4% in 16 La Liga appearances this season, while he has made 10 key passes and successfully completed 28 of the 37 take-ons he has attempted.

Would he be a good signing for Newcastle?

He certainly would be.

The 21-year-old looks to have a huge future ahead of him, but it remains to be seen whether the Magpies need to add another central midfielder to their ranks this month unless Jonjo Shelvey leaves.

That said, the chance to potentially bring a player of Fabian Ruiz’s potential and quality to St James’ Park for around £13m could be too much of an opportunity for Rafa Benitez to ignore as he looks to ensure the Tyneside outfit retain their Premier League status.