According to reports in the Chronicle Live, Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez is targeting a summer move for Red Bull Salzburg attacking midfielder Valon Berisha, rated at £4.5m by Transfermarkt, as he prioritises bringing a new No 10 to St James’ Park.
Well, the Chronicle Live says that Benitez is targeting the Kosovo international even though his own long-term future is far from clear, and with the Magpies still in danger of being relegated back to the Championship – although they can move on to 35 points if they beat fellow strugglers Huddersfield Town at St James’ Park on Saturday.
The Chronicle Live says that while Ayoze Perez and Mo Diame have often played in the No 10 role this season, the Spanish manager wants a more creative player in that position that can unlock opposition defences seeing as he has seen his side score just 30 times in 30 top flight matches this term, with the fans suggesting Mikel Merino should play there.
The report adds that the Tyneside outfit have traced Berisha for 18 months and could finally be ready to make a move for him this summer.
He has impressed.
While Benitez may want to bring him to Newcastle to play in a central attacking midfield role, more often than not during the current campaign the 25-year-old has played from the left for Salzburg.
The Swedish-born player has certainly impressed with 11 goals and nine assists in 38 appearances in all competitions, and according to WhoScored.com he has made 20 key passes in nine Europa League outings this term to help his club reach the quarter-finals of the competition.
He probably would be, yes.
The Kosovo international has shown with 43 goals and 63 assists in 226 appearances in total for Salzburg that he would bring some much-needed creativity and goal threat to the Magpies side, while he has also shown his leadership skills by captaining the side on occasions.
The 25-year-old certainly looks as though he would be a major upgrade on Perez, who has struggled to make an impression in a number of Premier League matches throughout the current campaign.