Newcastle confirmed the loan signing of Valentino Lazaro on Friday and although he was unavailable for the clash against Oxford, he could feature against Norwich next week.
The north-east outfit had to battle hard for his signature after interest emerged from RB Leipzig, but that could make Steve Bruce even happier that the deal has worked out.
The Black Cats boss will be particularly relieved as the addition helps him to solve a position that has caused him a bit of a headache in recent matches – right wing-back – with Isaac Hayden having to play there against Chelsea and Everton.
Lazaro’s attacking threat, with 60 goal contributions in his career, as well as an ability to play further forward, means he should give Newcastle a different option in that position, and it will be intriguing to see how he works with Miguel Almiron, who should play just in front of him.
Our team of Football FanCast writers have taken a look at the signing and shared their views on the club’s latest piece of transfer business.
“Having played in an incredible eight different positions throughout his career, Valentino Lazaro’s arrival at Newcastle effectively kills several birds with one stone for Steve Bruce. The Magpies are never going to be the biggest spenders in the land, what with Mike Ashley looking to try and run a tight ship, so deals like these are exactly the way forward.
“They need to be smart in the transfer market with the work that they do, and £40m man Joelinton’s struggles this season – he has just one goal in 24 Premier League games – proves big-money signings don’t always guarantee success. Instead, looking to source the best deals possible can be the difference-maker.
“Newcastle’s move for Lazaro is certainly an interesting one, given he’s only played 513 minutes of football this season following his summer move to Inter Milan.
“He did have a slightly better record for Red Bull Salzburg with 15 goals and 23 assists in 121 matches, albeit in a weaker division than the Bundesliga, Serie A or the Premier League.
“Newcastle have had their fair share of disappointing wingers in recent years, with the likes of Gabriel Obertan – who scored three and assisted 10 in 77 games – one of those who was particularly underwhelming.
“Lazaro may be 23 and still learning, but his less-than-impressive statistics suggest he’s just another Obertan for the Magpies.”
“The signing of Lazaro continues Newcastle’s policy from the summer of signing players who have shown some promising signs in Europe, having previously acquired the likes of Joelinton and Allan Saint-Maximin in the summer.
“The Brazilian’s form, in particular, shows the risk that strategy can carry, as he has still only scored one Premier League goal, which is a pretty shocking return.
“Lazaro has played in just 11 games this campaign, so Newcastle aren’t going off a lot from this season when making this signing, which seems slightly irresponsible, particularly as he may not be match fit.”
“There is a lot to be excited about with this signing and he should benefit Newcastle in a variety of ways.
“Lazaro is likely to slot in at right wing-back given the injuries to DeAndre Yedlin and Javier Manquillo, and if he can add an attacking threat from that position the Magpies will be a lot more difficult to contend with, as they haven’t enjoyed such an option all season.
“Manquillo and Yedlin have offered just one assist combined this term while making 0.2 and 0.4 key passes respectively – Lazaro made six assists and 1.8 key passes per game for Hertha Berlin last season by comparison – the last time he played regularly.
“As well as that, he will provide much-needed competition for Miguel Almiron and possibly allow the winger to play in attacking midfield, a position he excelled in for Atlanta United with 37 goal contributions in 50 games.”
With another transfer completed Bruce could focus on another exciting target as the transfer window enters its final week.