Newcastle have been heavily linked with a move for Andros Townsend, but Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Real Madrid should clear the way for them to land highly-rated youngster Marko Pjaca instead.
Crystal Palace’s Townsend has been heavily linked with a move to Tyneside for quite some time, with a move expected for the winger if Stoke City secure Matt Ritchie.
While plenty of fans have expressed their concerns about losing Ritchie and replacing him with a player who jumped ship when they were relegated, it does seem like Rafael Benitez has his heart set on a player with more attacking impetus than the industrious Ritchie.
This is why Pjaca’s availability at Juventus should have alarm bells ringing on Tyneside, as the young Croatian would bring the best of both worlds.
The 23 year-old was reportedly offered to Liverpool recently for £22m, which is only slightly more than Townsend would cost, and he would bring Ritchie’s work rate to the table but with all the pace and skill of Townsend.
It could be difficult to lure Pjaca to Tyneside, but do not underestimate the pulling power of a world class manager like Benitez. The World Cup finalist was extremely highly rated when he signed for Juventus, but has struggled to nail down a place in the side and the arrival of Ronaldo has pushed him towards the exit door.
Pjaca was actually likened to Ronaldo as a youngster because of his stature, standing at 6 ft 1, which is pretty big for a winger. The versatile youngster can play on either side, but would of course play on the right hand side for Newcastle, opposite the electric Kenedy.
Above all else, fans at St. James’ Park want to be entertained, and having Kenedy and Pjaca on opposite wings would certainly entertain. The 19-cap Croatian is incredibly fast, direct, and can cut onto either foot while dribbling, which makes him almost impossible to defend. Basically, his combination of speed, strength and agility is truly terrifying.
He is also a very intelligent player for his age, scoring 35 league goals in 61 appearances for Dinamo Zagreb before his big move to Turin, thanks mainly to his movement. He loves cutting inside and popping shots from distance, but he also has an incredible knack of ghosting in behind the defence, and would certainly enjoy latching on to some of Jonjo Shelvey’s through balls.
If Rafa wants a dynamic, pacey winger that knows where the back of the net is for around £20m, then Pjaca would be the perfect signing. He is the best parts of both Ritchie and Townsend put together, and might even be a bigger hit on Tyneside than Kenedy.
So, Newcastle fans, do you think Pjaca would be a good signing? Could you see it happening if Stoke pay up for Ritchie? Let us know your thoughts by voting in the poll below…