Newcastle United have been closely linked with Stuttgart defender, Borna Sosa, in recent times, with the highly-rated gem potentially set to strengthen the Magpies’ full-back options.
What’s the word?
The Croatia international – who is currently representing his country at the World Cup in Qatar – has seemingly been a long-term target for the Tynesiders, with reports in the summer having suggested that he was on Eddie Howe’s radar.
This has been followed by a recent report from German outlet Bild which has claimed that the northeast side – as well as Serie A duo Inter Milan and Atalanta – are interested in signing the 24-year-old, with the player set to command a fee of around £17m.
Journalist Pete O’Rourke – in an interview with Football FanCast – has now provided his thoughts on that potential move to bring the nine-cap starlet to St James’ Park, suggesting that he could well prove to be an improvement on the Premier League side’s current options.
Asked whether the Zagreb-born ace would be an ‘upgrade’ on both Matt Targett and Dan Burn, the transfer insider stated: “Yeah, I think you would have to say he would be an upgrade.
“He’s an out-and-out left-back. Dan Burn’s done a brilliant job that has to be said for Newcastle at left-back this season, he’s been part of that really mean Newcastle defence. So it’d be harsh on him if they were to bring in a new left-back”
As O’Rourke alluded to, it may well be somewhat ‘harsh’ to dislodge the aforementioned Burn – who has helped form the meanest defence in the league this season after shipping only 11 goals – although Sosa’s quality end product should well make a move a no brainer.
The “outstanding” talent – as described by Stuttgart coach Pellegrino Matarazzo – has proven a truly lethal asset from his wide berth, having produced 31 assists in just 96 games during his time in Germany thus far, including a stunning haul of eight assists in just 11 games this season.
A player who is simply a “weapon” due to his David Beckham-esque delivery, in the words of Sven Mislintat, the 6 foot 2 ace also offers real attacking intent from his full-back or wing-back, as he ranks in the top 10% for progressive passes and in the top 12% for dribbles completed among those in his position in Europe.
Burn, by contrast, has chipped in with just one goal involvement since his arrival from Brighton and Hove Albion back in January, with the towering defender also ranking in just the bottom 23% for progressive passes and only the bottom 6% for dribbles completed, having provided a less glamorous, more robust option at left-back.
While the 30-year-old could well still have a role to play in the side in a central defensive berth, if the ambitious outfit are to kick on and push towards Champions League qualification and major honours moving forward, it could well need a quality ‘upgrade’ such as Sosa to come through the door.