Newcastle United are reportedly interested in signing Barcelona forward Raphinha this summer, despite the Brazilian having only made the move to Catalonia back in July.
What’s the latest on Raphinha to Newcastle?
According to Spanish outlet Sport, the Magpies could be set to target the 26-year-old ahead of next season, with the former Leeds United man seemingly one of the club’s ‘main objectives’ for the summer window.
This follows claims made prior to the winger’s move to Camp Nou that the St James’ Park outfit were in “talks” regarding a deal to prise him from Elland Road, albeit with Xavi Hernandez’s side ultimately swooping in to strike an agreement for a fee of around £55m.
Could Raphinha replace Almiron at Newcastle?
Should Raphinha be snapped up by the Tynesiders this time around, the one-time Rennes man will likely be looking to nail down a regular role on the right flank in Eddie Howe‘s side, with that starting berth currently taken up by the resurgent, Miguel Almiron.
The Paraguayan playmaker has enjoyed a real standout season thus far with ten Premier League goals to his name, with the 29-year-old having been rewarded for that “amazing transformation” – in the words of club legend Alan Shearer – with a new, long-term contract.
Despite the wide man’s recent impressive statistics, it may well be that it is the former Atlanta United star who drops from the side if Raphinha is signed this summer, with the latter man potentially proving something of an upgrade for Howe and co.
The Porto Alegre native may only have four La Liga goals to his name this season, although his overall record so far this term stands at seven goals and nine assists in 34 games across all fronts, while Almiron has contributed ten goals but only three assists in 30 games in all competitions.
Equally, it is in fact the former Sporting Lisbon sensation who boasts by far the better record in the Premier League following his eye-catching stint in Yorkshire, as the 5 foot 9 dynamo provided 29 goals and assists in just 65 top-flight games, while the current Newcastle man has just 23 goals and assists despite featuring 133 times for the northeast side in the league.
It would also appear that it is Raphinha who offers more in a defensive sense in his wide berth, with the £62m-rated man ranking in the top 7% among those in his position in Europe for blocks made and the top 11% for interceptions, while Almiron ranks in just the top 49% and the top 52% for those same two metrics, respectively.
As ruthless as it may be to cast aside a player who has been such a key figure for Howe this season, it is the Barcelona “baller” – as lauded by former Whites teammate Tyler Roberts – who should be given the nod in that attacking role, provided a deal can be completed.