Newcastle eye Benfica defender Tavares

Steve Bruce should urge Newcastle United to launch a summer swoop to sign SL Benfica full-back Nuno Tavares.

What’s the word?

According to O Jogo, the Magpies could soon make an offer to acquire Tavares with bids expected to arrive in Lisbon before the end of the season.

The Toon have shown the most interest in the 21-year-old after missing out on his signature in the summer of 2019, when United were willing to pay €15m (£13m) for the promising left-back.

Should Newcastle sign Benfica’s Tavares?

Yes, he looks promising

No, he isn’t good enough

No, he isn't good enough

Newcastle chiefs and scouts have continued to monitor Tavares’ development at the Liga NOS giants, where he has since fallen down the pecking order to start just 11 of his 20 outings across all competitions under Jorge Jesus this season.

But the Magpies are not alone in targeting the Estadio Sport Lisboa e Benfica, with the £6.5m-rated outcast said to also be a target for Premier League rivals Burnley and long-term admirers Serie A side SSC Napoli.

Benfica are likely to be in a financially difficult position in the off-season should Jesus not lead the Eagles into the Champions League, having missed out on a place in UEFA’s premier club competition last term.

That need will increase the likelihood of Tavares being sold, though only preliminary discussions – including with Newcastle in recent weeks – are thought to have taken place thus far.

Should Newcastle sign Tavares?

While Tavares has fallen out of favour under Jesus, the Benfica defender has shown signs of promise in his rare outings that should appeal to Bruce and Newcastle in the off-season when he should explore a fresh start in hopes of more game time.

The Portugal U21 international boasts three assists over just 1,007 minutes of competitive action this term, including setting up the Eagles’ vital second at home to Standard Liege in the Europa League during the Group Stage after being fouled in the penalty area.

Newcastle players celebrate

Newcastle’s first victory of the season came against Tottenham towards the end of August – but what was the score?

Tavares proved a relentless issue for the Belgian giants during the UEFA affair, with the youngster offering two key passes and taking a mammoth 101 touches, per WhoScored.

Only Pizzi (112) took more touches for either side that night, with Tavares seeing far more of the ball than he has in a majority of his outings thanks to an average of just 47.6.

The in-demand outcast proved a forever combative presence, as well, having contested a staggering 28 ground duels and won 14, far more than his average 3.8 won a game in the Europa League this term, per SofaScore.

He also offered a team-high four successful tackles and two interceptions, more than his average one and 0.6 in each regard.

Jamal Lewis currently offers Bruce 1.6 successful tackles and 0.5 interceptions a game in the Premier League, along with winning 2.8 ground duels with a 50% success rate and providing 0.6 key passes from 46.8 touches.

It would remain to be seen how Tavares would adapt to life in England having never played for a club outside of his native Portugal, but he could offer Newcastle a lot of potential if given the fresh start he seemingly needs.

AND in other news, Newcastle have joined the race for a sought-after “real talent” capable of “outstanding” displays

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