Newcastle eying Spanish starlet Marc Cucurella

Newcastle are keeping tabs on Spain Under-20 left-back Marc Cucurella, claims The Evening Chronicle.

What’s the story?

According to the Chronicle’s report, the Magpies have been tracking the young defender this season.

Cucurella has enjoyed a fabulous breakout campaign with Eibar, starting 26 La Liga games, scoring once and adding two assists.

The 20 year-old was on loan from Barcelona for the season, and the Catalan giants are expected to bring him back before selling him on for a profit.

AC Milan, Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla and Real Betis are all listed as other potential suitors.

Perfect understudy for Ritchie?

Cucurella looks tailor made for Rafael Benitez’s 5-2-2-1 formation, as the youngster has spent most of this season playing left-midfield.

Naturally a left-back, he has the energy and desire to bomb up and down the wing for 90 minutes week in week out, and his 79% pass success rate and one key pass per game suggest he knows how to create once he gets into dangerous areas.

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His fantastic chance creation isn’t the only appealing stat either. The Spain Under-20 international averages 1.6 tackles per game, and also picked up six yellow cards this season, so he should have no trouble adjusting to the rough and tumble of English football.

With Matt Ritchie seemingly capable of filling in at left-wing-back for the time being, a move for a player like Cucurella makes sense, as the youngster can learn from Benitez and take over from the Scot when the time is right, as opposed to splashing out big cash on a ready-now player who may not even be an upgrade on Ritchie.

Valued at £9m by Transfermarkt, the versatile youngster is easily affordable for the Magpies and would hold significant resale value – Mike Ashley’s eyes are surely lighting up.