Why Newcastle United should reignite interest in Marko Pjaca

Back in February 2019, a report from Italian outlet Corriere Fiorentino (h/t Chronicle Live) claimed that Newcastle United had made a loan approach for Juventus winger Marko Pjaca, who was plying his trade on loan at Fiorentina back then.

However, the Croatian international turned down a move to Tyneside as he wanted to stay in Florence and fight for more game time. 

Profile

Marko Pjaca started his career with Lokomotiva in Croatia, making 51 appearances over three seasons before being snapped up by Dinamo Zagreb in 2014. The winger quickly established himself as a regular starter and went on to register 28 goals and 13 assists in 91 appearances over two seasons, winning the domestic double on each occasion.

The 25-year-old’s growing reputation in his homeland prompted Juventus to offer him a route to the Serie A in 2016. Pjaca made 20 league appearances in his first season in Turin but has been out of favour ever since, spending time on loan at Schalke, Fiorentina and Anderlecht.

The Croatian winger was loaned out to fellow Italian outfit Genoa this summer and has made a positive start the campaign, scoring thrice in 10 league appearances so far.

uc sampdoria v genoa cfc serie a
GENOA, ITALY – NOVEMBER 1: Adrien Silva of UC Sampdoria and Marko Pjaca of Genoa CFC during the Serie A match between UC Sampdoria and Genoa CFC at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on November 1, 2020 in Genoa, Italy. (Photo by Paolo Rattini/Getty Images)

A full international for Croatia since 2014, Pjaca has earned 24 caps for his nation, representing them at UEFA Euro 2016 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Pjaca would add more quality to the Newcastle attack

Newcastle have made a decent start to the season with 18 points accumulated from 13 games so far. With several crunch fixtures against Man City, Liverpool and Leicester City set to come in the following weeks, it remains to be seen whether Steve Bruce’s side manage to rise up to the challenge.

A tally of 17 goals scored doesn’t look all that bad but Bruce should consider making some additions to his attack with one eye on the future. 

Marko Pjaca remains a player with plenty of untapped potential. Injuries and a lack of game time on loan spells have somewhat stalled his progress in recent years but the winger has shown in the past that he’s capable of delivering the goods when provided with regular minutes.

Newcastle should, therefore, go back in the market for his services in the summer when his loan spell at Genoa comes to an end. 

acf fiorentina v genoa cfc serie a
FLORENCE, ITALY – DECEMBER 07: Marko Pjaca of Genoa CFC celebrates after scoring a goal during the Serie A match between ACF Fiorentina and Genoa CFC at Stadio Artemio Franchi on December 7, 2020, in Florence, Italy. (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)

Pjaca’s ability to score and create goals for his teammates would definitely make him an asset to Newcastle’s attack. While essentially a left-winger by trade, the Croatian has also been utilised out wide on the right and through the middle as a supporting striker.

Pjaca has also featured as a centre-forward on certain occasions and boasts a decent record while playing up top. 

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Verdict

With Joelinton and Andy Carroll continuing to struggle for goals and the likes of Jacob Murphy, Christian Atsu and Dwight Gayle all out of contract in the summer, Pjaca’s versatility could potentially come in very handy for Newcastle in the coming seasons. 

The 25-year-old still has his best years ahead of him and a potential deal would allow Bruce to get the best out of the Croatian moving forward.

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