A report from Portuguese publication O Jogo (h/t Chronicle Live) back in July claimed that Newcastle United were interested in signing Ricardo Horta from SC Braga this past summer. However, no move materialised and the winger ended up staying put in his homeland.
Horta spent seven years in the youth system of Benfica before completing his footballing education at Vitoria Setubal. He also made his competitive debut there in 2012-13. After scoring 7 times in 28 Primeira Liga appearances in the following campaign, he was snapped up by Malaga in the Spanish top-flight.
The Portuguese attacker struggled to make a big impact in the La Liga though. He was loaned out to Braga in 2016 after managing only 3 goals in 56 appearances for Malaga over two seasons. On his return to his homeland, Horta regained his confidence and managed to get his career back on track with a 9-goal haul in all competitions.
That was enough to earn him a permanent move to Braga and Horta has continued to flourish as a key cog over the past three seasons. The 26-year-old has amassed 64 goals and 36 assists in 206 appearances for the Portuguese outfit. He enjoyed his most prolific campaign last term, scoring 23 times in all competitions.
Despite the 2-0 win over Everton earlier today, Newcastle United have endured a downward slide over the past two months after a decent start to the campaign in September.
Suffice to say, Newcastle are in desperate need of some transfer spark before the January deadline to get things up and running once again. With just 21 goals scored so far, it’s a no-brainer that the Magpies need to improve significantly in the coming months to avoid getting dragged into a relegation battle.
Bruce roped in Ryan Fraser on a free transfer from Bournemouth this past summer to bolster their wide attacking department. But the Scottish international has failed to hit the heights that were expected of him, failing to score in 10 league appearances so far.
With Allan Saint-Maximin, Joelinton and Miguel Almiron also offering very little in terms of end product, Newcastle have been crying out for more quality on the flanks. Jacob Murphy is also out of contract at the end of the season. That should further prompt the manager to look at some alternatives in the market.
Putting things into perspective, Newcastle need to look no further beyond one of their summer targets, Ricardo Horta, to add some much-needed firepower to their attack. The one-cap Portuguese international has been playing at a very high level in his homeland for the past several seasons and looks ready to embrace a bigger challenge.
Horta has backed up his strong domestic performances with impressive displays in the Europa League. In fact, he has scored at least once in four of the past five editions of the competition.
Plus, the 26-year-old’s ability to play anywhere across the forward line would hand a significant boost to Bruce’s dynamics. With Saint-Maximin and Fraser not living up to the expectations, the door remains open for someone like Horta to establish himself as a key player at Tyneside.
The Portuguese star still potentially has his best years ahead of him at 26, making him more than worth a punt for Newcastle this month.