Newcastle United’s new owners are expected to spend big in the summer transfer window.
Newcastle United showed massive improvement under Eddie Howie, who took over the Tyneside club when relegation was a real possibility. With a few tactical tweaks and a few additions in the January transfer window, he ensured they finished 11th in the Premier League table, a comfortable midtable position 14 points above the relegation zone.
With the threat of relegation behind them and a new season around the corner. Newcastle needs to revamp their squad. Despite being the richest club in the world now, thanks to their Saudi owners. It should be quality over quantity for the club when they browse what’s on offer across Europe.
As they build on last season’s good second-half form and target a top 10 finish in 2022-23, here are five realistic targets Newcastle could look to sign this summer.
5. Sven Botman (Lille)
Newcastle have been interested in Steven Botman for a while now. They even tried to make the move happen in January but Lille refused all offers. Botman would be a big addition to Newcastle’s backline. The 6’4” Dutchman has more than 10,000 minutes as a senior professional footballer and possesses a wide range of skills that warrant attention. He is a traditional defender, who prefers to defend deep and perform the role of a ‘stopper.’
In Lille’s Ligue 1 title-winning 2020-21 season, Botman helped his side to register the highest number of clean sheets in Europe’s top five leagues. Newcastle on the other hand conceded 62 goals in the league last season and will need to get tighter at the back. The other rumored option is Nathan Ake. Ake made his name under Howe at Bournemouth. However, Ake will cost more than Botman despite not being a first-choice defender for Pep Guardiola.
4. Hugo Ekitike (Reims)
Hugo Ekitike is another player Newcastle wanted to sign in January, but couldn’t get the move over the line. All signs point to them returning for the teenager’s signature now, as they see him as an investment for the future.
The 19-year-old has a killer instinct, timing his runs perfectly and coming alive in the box. His ball retention in tight spaces is fantastic, giving those around him the time to join the attack or make runs behind the opposition’s defence. He’s far from a finished product. But he won’t arrive with the goalscoring burden on his shoulders. With time and a little effort, he could well become the first of many superstars who could soon call Newcastle their home.
3. Renan Lodi (Atletico Madrid)
Since joining Atletico Madrid from Athletico Paranaense in 2019, Renan Lodi has gone from strength to strength by nailing down the left-back spot in the Spanish capital. His defensive acumen, which reached new heights under Diego Simeone’s tutelage, coupled with his attacking finesse has seen him own the left flank whenever he’s on the pitch. Like many Brazilian fullbacks before him. He started as a forward, modeling his game after the likes of Ronaldinho and Kaka.
Despite signing Matt Target on a permanent deal. The 24-year-old Brazilian would make the perfect full-back signing for the Magpies this summer.
2. Sam Johnstone (West Bromwich Albion)
Newcastle will need to improve their goalkeeping options. Though it isn’t a position that urgently calls for attention. They have been linked with a few keepers, the likes of Dean Henderson, Bernd Leno and Kepa Arrizabalaga. However, any of the aforementioned trio would cost an arm and a leg to sign, money that can be better spent on other positions. This makes Sam Johnstone the perfect option for the Tyneside club.
The 29-year-old is a free agent after his contract with West Bromwich Albion expired at the end of last season. He made 167 appearances for the Midlands club after arriving from Manchester United in 2018. Johnstone has been subjected to multiple bids from Premier League teams, most notably West Ham United.
1. Lucas Paqueta (Olympique Lyon)
Lucas Paqueta has been one of Europe’s finest midfielders since joining Olympique Lyon, which came as a surprise to some after he failed to impress at AC Milan. He was a traditional No. 10 until Rudi Garcia converted him into a central midfielder, a role he has owned by adapting his style.
Alongside Bruno Guimaraes at Lyon, Paqueta began to live up to the expectations he set during his time with Flamengo. With the former already signed by the Magpies in January, Paqueta’s addition would instantly increase Newcastle’s creative prowess in the middle of the pitch by a few notches. The 24-year-old, who could become Newcastle’s record signing, has that X factor that could transform Newcastle from just another Premier League club to a European superpower.