Newcastle United Opinion: Magpies should drop interest in Lazio’s proposed Lascelles-Lukaku swap deal
According to The Shields Gazette, Serie A giants Lazio are interested in signing Newcastle United club-captain Jamaal Lascelles, with reports claiming that the Italian outfit are prepared to offer left-back Jordan Lukaku in a player-plus-cash exchange deal.
The Shields Gazette understands that Lazio’s Sporting Direction Igli Tare values Lascelles at around £16million and he is ready to throw in Jordan Lukaku, the brother of Man United striker Romelu Lukaku, as a bait to tempt the Magpies into selling their captain.
This is not the first time, though, that Lukaku has been linked with a move to Tyneside, with the same source claiming that the 24-year-old Belgian was lined up for a loan deal by manager Rafael Benitez back in January. However, the left-back, injured at that time, failed to pass a medical at St.James’ Park and a deal fell through, with Newcastle going on to sign Italian Antonio Barecca on loan from AS Monaco.
However, Barecca made only a solitary Premier League appearance in the second half of this past season and apparently failed to impress upon Benitez to earn a significant first-team role. While a left-back continues to be high on the manager’s wishlist for the summer, it’s highly unlikely that the Magpies are going to go ahead with a permanent deal for the Italian.
Benitez preferred a back-five system in the Premier League last season, with two wing-backs on either side complementing a three-man central defensive unit. The Spaniard was forced to use Matt Ritchie in a left wing-back role due to lack of suitable personnel in his ranks but the former Bournemouth man showcased his versatility and racked up as a many as 3 goals and 8 assists in 39 appearances across all competitions.
However, one cannot help but feel that Newcastle should try and maximise Ritchie’s potential by using him further up the pitch, meaning that a specialist left-back needs to be brought in to allow Benitez more freedom when it comes to team selection.
To put things into perspective, it is a no-brainer that Newcastle need a new left-back but sacrificing club-captain Jamaal Lascelles for that purpose doesn’t make a lot of sense, given that the 25-year-old is nearing his prime years and is regarded as one of the best central defenders outside the big-six in the Premier League. Also, Jordan Lukaku won’t necessarily be the best possible choice for the Magpies, given his struggles with injuries in recent years.
Lukaku was regarded as a bright emerging prospect in Belgium during his time at Anderlecht and Oostende but a move to the Serie A with Lazio hasn’t brought the best out of him. The 24-year-old’s performances in Italy have been anything but convincing, and that coupled with his poor injury record, mean that the Newcastle fans should be happy to see the rumours pass by without a deal actually materializing.
The Belgian has started only a single game for Lazio in the Serie A this past season and the Serie A club’s desire to get him off their books perfectly makes sense. The 24-year-old’s ill-fated spell in Italy has seen him make 71 appearances in all competitions over the course of three full seasons but his returns haven’t been all that great, with the Belgian just managing to contribute with a goal and 6 assists.
Lascelles, on the other hand, is not just a solid centre-back but he is also a charismatic leader on the pitch for the Magpies and, undoubtedly, one of the first names on Benitez’s teamsheet. He has established himself as one of the top performers at Tyneside over the past three campaigns and losing him would be a step backwards for the club. Also, he is only 25, meaning that he still has a lot of time to make significant improvements to his game, given his talent and potential.
Newcastle are yet to sort out the future of Benitez at the club, with the Spaniard’s contract set to expire shortly, and it would be foolish for the Magpies to sanction the departure of their highly-rated club-captain in under such circumstances.
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And, if they are really desperate to bring in a new left-back, the Toon army should consider a more direct approach rather than a swap deal involving Lascelles, who is likely to play a key role at the back for years to come. He recently committed his future to the club by signing a new six-year contract, so Newcastle’s decision to sell him would go against all logic and reason.
Man United would find De Gea’s ideal replacement by signing this Champions League semi-finalist – Agreed?
Manchester United Opinion: United must target Onana if De Gea leaves
According to a recent report by The Sun, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United side are said to have set their eyes on Ajax’s Cameroonian international goalkeeper Andre Onana as a possible replacement for David De Gea, later this summer.
The Spanish veteran has rejected multiple contract offers from United over the last couple of seasons and he now finds himself with just a year remaining on his current deal. Although Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak is being linked with a possible move too, his startling market value will prove too much for United to handle at this stage.
The report suggests that Manchester United are willing to see out David De Gea’s contract and let him leave for free rather than sell him in the summer.
Despite their best interests, if the Spaniard does force a move away from Old Trafford, there probably isn’t much they could do to stop him.
He was heavily criticised for his performances in the last campaign as he made multiple individual errors and blatant mistakes.
Andre Onana is a 23-year-old shot-stopper, who currently plies his trade for last season’s Champions League semi-finalist – Ajax Amsterdam. The youngster was an absolutely pivotal part of their build-up play and his ability to release the ball early helped them in multiple situations as well.
The season that Ajax had last year could only be described as majestic and without Onana’s exploits between the sticks, they wouldn’t have achieved half of what they did. It is being reported that the youngster could be available for a fairly nominal price and considering that he’s only 23, he could fit the bill at United in terms of age as well.
Although Sergio Romero will definitely throw his name into the hat at some
stage, signing Onana would be a massive boost to a team that has depended on their goalkeeper’s heroics to keep them in games at times.
De Gea has been a fan favourite at Old Trafford for a long time now but the time for change could finally be here.
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The Spaniard is 28 now and has shown signs of slowing down over the last season. His performances at the World Cup in Russia were poor and he certainly didn’t help himself with his recent Premier League showings.
Despite this, De Gea has singlehandedly won Manchester United an unbelievable number of football matches. Moving for Onana to replace him would certainly be a shrewd piece of business.
Man City shelling out £5m to activate this former player’s buyout clause would provide excellent competition for Mendy – Agreed?
Man City Opinion: Citizens should activate Angelino’s buy-back clause to ensure quality competition for Mendy
According to Manchester Evening News, reigning Premier League champions Man City are set to bring left-back Angelino back to the Etihad this summer, with reports claiming that the Citizens are considering activating the buy-back clause that they had inserted in the Spaniard’s deal.
Angelino sealed a permanent £5 million move to Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven only last summer but Manchester Evening News suggests that the Citizens, who are well aware of his talent and potential, had inserted a clause in his deal which would enable them to bring him back for a fee of around £5 million.
The same source claims that Man City are impressed by the 22-year-old’s rapid development in the Netherlands at PSV Eindhoven and are willing to offer him a chance in their first-team next season, while French champions PSG have also been linked with the highly-rated left-back.
Angelino accumulated as many as 12 assists in 43 appearances for the Dutch heavyweights in all competitions this past season, also featuring prominently in the club’s Champions League campaign, which ended prematurely in the group stages.
The 22-year-old’s scintillating run for form hasn’t gone unnoticed and, as the reports suggest, he might as well be forced to head back to England just after a single season at PSV.
The Spanish U21 international played for Deportivo La Coruna at the youth ranks before joining City’s youth set up in 2012. Angelino featured largely for the club’s youth and reserve sides and spent time on loan at New York City, Girona, Mallorca and NAC Breda.
The talented youngster was eventually handed his first-team debut against Aston Villa in the FA Cup in 2016 and went on to make a total of 3 competitive appearances for the Citizens, featuring in the qualifying rounds of the Champions League and also in the EFL Cup.
However, it was pretty apparent that he needed more time to further his development before having a realistic chance of nailing down a regular starting role at City.
Well, it looks as though the left-back has finally managed to impress upon the City hierarchy with his scintillating run of form in the Dutch top-flight this past season.
Realistically speaking, it makes a lot of sense for Man City to bring the Spaniard back to the Etihad this summer, given that lack of stability on the left-hand side of the backline was one of the big talking points from the club’s domestic treble-winning campaign last term.
Benjamin Mendy started off with a bang in the earlier stages of the recently concluded campaign, with the Frenchman accumulating as many as 5 assists in 10 Premier League outings.
However, Guardiola found himself short of cover ever since Mendy was sidelined with a long-term knee injury and the manager had to rotate between the likes of Fabian Delph and Oleksandr Zinchenko to fill in at an unfamiliar position.
While Delph struggled to find consistency and had his own share of injury problems, Guardiola’s patience with Zinchenko gradually paid rich dividends, as the Ukrainian went from strength to strength and established himself as the first-choice left-back in due course of time.
City would need to sort out their left-back conundrum sooner rather than later, given Mendy’s poor injury record. And bringing back Angelino certainly makes a lot of sense.
The 22-year-old would save Man City a fortune in the transfer market, while his arrival is also expected to add much-needed depth and cover in a key area of the pitch for the Citizens.
The Spaniard has proven his credentials as a modern-day offensive-minded full-back in the Netherlands and City have every reason to look at him as someone who could possibly provide cover and competition for Mendy, thus enabling Zinchenko to play elsewhere in a more familiar role.
Capable of shouldering both attacking and defensive responsibilities effectively, Angelino caught the eye with his immaculate crossing, sharpness, agility and a deadly eye for key passes in the final third.
The 22-year-old averaged 2 key passes, 1.7 crosses, 1.4 dribbles, 2.3 successful long balls, 2.2 tackles, 1.4 interceptions and 2 clearances per game in the Eredisivie last season, figures which are an upgrade on Mendy’s 1.2 key passes, 1.1 crosses, 1.6 tackles and 1 interception per game in the Premier League.
Those differences in numbers might have a lot to do with the stylistic differences between the two teams and the quality of the leagues but, in all honesty, Angelino proved that he is good enough to challenge the injury-prone and impetuous Mendy for a spot in City’s first-team.
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As the Citizens look to make it a hat-trick of Premier League triumphs next season, they need to ensure that they have adequate depth in all areas of their squad and bringing back the 22-year-old for a thrifty fee would certainly be a step in the right direction.
Next Roofe in the making? – Leeds United signing this League Two starlet for £250,000 would be a smart move by Bielsa
The 18-year-old is also being chased by a swarm of English clubs namely Sheffield United, Derby County and Wolves. Yet, the Whites remain confident they can win the race by offering him more gaming time.
The 18-year-old broke into Carlisle’s main team in the recently concluded season, making a total of 16 appearances. Despite being used as a substitute, McCarron showed much quality with limited opportunities. A youth product of Cumbrians, the English prodigy has a contract until the end of next season.
Should Leeds United move for McCarron?
After an eventful campaign in Championship, Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa needs reinforcements in every aspect.
The attacking line-up turned out to be a let-down for the Argentine manager in the promotion slump and he must mend that before the start of next season.
And with Jack Clarke’s future still hanging in balance as he is wanted by Tottenham, Bielsa can avail the services of League Two teenager, McCarron. United’s primary striker, Kemar Roofe, is also on the radar of Burnley.
A centre-forward by trade, McCarron is also much efficient at the wings. Though he can’t be an assured starter under Bielsa, he can win his chances by showing quick progress in the reserves set-up as Clarke did with the Whites last season.
The former Chile manager is also known for nurturing young talents – Clarke and Leif Davis are some of the best examples. McCarron could soon join the list and can break into the spotlight if he opts to move to Elland Road this summer.
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Leeds wouldn’t be overburdened with a signing like McCarron, who is currently in demand and has a great future ahead.
And the English prospect can follow the footsteps of 26-year-old Roofe, who also rose through the ranks of League Two side Oxford United.
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