Thiago Maia would be Newcastle’s perfect replacement for Mikel Merino

Newcastle have made a bid for Lille midfielder Thiago Maia, according to La Voix du Nord (11 June), as cited by Get French Football News.

What’s the story?

The 21-year-old defensive midfielder signed for Lille for £12.6million last year and has had a strong season, notching up 34 appearances in Ligue 1.

The Brazilian didn’t register a single goal or assist, but was a solid presence protecting the back four and has a composure which belies his years.

According to the report, Newcastle’s opening bid was rejected by Lille and it remains to be seen whether the club will continue their efforts to sign the Lille player.

Is he worth it?

Although the report did not mention a fee, we can be sure that Lille will want more than the £12.6million they paid for him last summer.

If, as is expected, Mikel Merino exits Newcastle for Athletic Bilbao this summer, Benitez will be looking for a young replacement and Maia fits the bill perfectly.

Maia is a consistent performer averaging 1.6 tackles and 1.8 interceptions per game, but Newcastle may have to spend big to convince Lille to part with their promising youngster.

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Article title: Thiago Maia would be Newcastle’s perfect replacement for Mikel Merino

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