Why Newcastle United should avoid a move for Rob Dickie
According to The Sunday Mirror (9/8; page 65), Newcastle United are among a host of Premier League clubs interested in securing the services of Oxford United defender Rob Dickie. The newly-promoted trio of Leeds United, Fulham and West Brom are also keen on the 24-year-old, who is valued at £3million by the League One outfit. (h/t Mirror)
As per the source, Oxford manager Karl Robinson has indicated that he would be open to selling the centre-back if the right offer is put on the table.
Born in Wokingham, Rob Dickie rose through the youth ranks at Reading but he made only a solitary first-team appearance for the Berkshire outfit, spending time on loan at Cheltenham Town, Basingstoke Town and Lincoln City in the lower divisions.
A string of impressive loan spells earned him a move to Oxford United in the third-tier back in January 2018 and Dickie has since clocked up 113 appearances in all competitions.
Newcastle’s defensive scenario
Newcastle United somehow dragged themselves through to a 13th-place finish in the Premier League last season. The Magpies scored just 38 goals and conceded as many as 58 goals throughout the campaign, figures that epitomise the need for improvement at both ends of the pitch.
However, Newcastle’s defensive unit might not be as bad as it looks when you consider that they conceded just 48 goals under Rafael Benitez with exactly the same set of players in 2018-19.
With captain Jamaal Lascelles, Federico Fernandez, Fabian Schar, Florian Lejuene, Paul Dummett, and Ciaran Clark all competing for places at the heart of the defence, Newcastle have enough depth and quality at the back.
With that in mind, however, it wouldn’t be a massive surprise if Steve Bruce identifies his backline as an area that requires further investment this summer.
To that end, though, the manager would need to offload at least a couple of his existing options at the back to make room for a new arrival. Plus, he’s got to be absolutely sure that whoever comes through the door would be a genuine upgrade on his existing stock of centre-backs.
Considering that someone like Lejuene has struggled for form and fitness over the past two seasons, it might not be a bad idea for the Magpies to rope in a quality central defender this summer, even though new signings further up the pitch should be a top priority for the club.
Why Newcastle can do better than signing Dickie
To put things into perspective, Rob Dickie hardly has a convincing enough CV to show that he could possibly be an upgrade on Newcastle’s existing defensive options.
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Indeed, the 24-year-old has excelled in League One but the difference in quality and intensity between the Premier League and the English third-tier is quite massive, especially considering that Dickie has never played a full season in the Championship.
Hence, it would be a massive risk for Newcastle to put their trust in a player who remains completely unproven at the highest level. It would simply be a desperate measure that Bruce should avoid at all costs.