The end of the January transfer window is now in sight although Newcastle United have yet to seriously strengthen their ranks thus far, with the only addition having been that of Australian teenager, Garang Kuol.
After a hectic yet effective spending spree a year ago – in which the likes of Dan Burn, Kieran Trippier and Bruno Guimaraes arrived through the door – it has proven far quieter for Magpies boss Eddie Howe and co this time around.
The suggestion is, however, that the former Bournemouth manager is keen to bolster his squad before the deadline in order aid in the push for Champions League qualification, with attacking recruits seemingly high on the priority list.
According to recent reports, one of those targets could well be that of Chelsea playmaker, Hakim Ziyech, having previously been linked with the 29-year-old over the summer.
The belief is that the Morocco international is one a handful of players at Stamford Bridge who have been told they can move this month, with the Blues already well-stocked in attack after bringing in the likes of Joao Felix, Noni Madueke and Mykhaylo Mudryk in recent weeks.
Transfer insider Dean Jones – speaking to GIVEMESPORT – has provided his verdict on a potential move to St James’ Park for the former Ajax man, with the respected journalist stating:
“You can see that he doesn’t really fit into what’s going on at Chelsea right now and Newcastle seems like a good short-term fit for trying to cement their Champions League status.”
Although the 50-cap gem has endured a difficult spell in England to date – with just 14 goals and 11 assists in 98 games in all competitions – he had previously shone during his time in the Netherlands, with a staggering haul of 130 goal involvements in just 165 games across all fronts.
Even despite his underwhelming form in the Premier League, the £100k-per-week “wizard” – as lauded by journalist Nizaar Kinsella – has still shown flashes of his quality, with that evidenced by his statistical and stylistic likeness to Manchester United talisman, Bruno Fernandes, as per FBref.
That comparison between the two attacking midfield talents can be illustrated by their ability to offer a creative spark in the side, with Ziyech ranking in the top 10% for progressive passes among his European peers, while Fernandes ranks in the top 7% in that regard.
Not just threats in an attacking sense, the pair are also impressive figures due to their relentless work ethic, with the Blues maestro ranking in the top 12% for both clearances and tackles, while his United counterpart ranks in the top 15% and the top 2% for those two metrics, respectively.
The hope would be that Ziyech can emulate Fernandes’ impact in England and hit the ground running were he to sign this month, with the latter man having been something of a “revelation” after joining the club in January 2020, as per Statman Dave.
The former Sporting Lisbon ace ended that 2019/20 campaign with eight goals and seven assists in just 14 league games to quickly cement himself as the Red Devils’ leading man, with that status having remained intact since then as the 28-year-old now boasts 100 goal involvements in only 154 games for the club to date.
To think that Newcastle could potentially land their answer to the Portugal international in the form of Ziyech is a truly intriguing prospect for Howe and co, with such a signing seemingly set to help take the club to even greater heights in the coming months and years.