Newcastle have announced that they have officially signed Monaco’s out-of-favor fullback Antonio Barreca.
The deal has been announced as a loan with the option to buy. The club has provided no detail on the amount of money involved in the deal, but it was reported yesterday that this looks to be a €1m loan fee with a €9m option to buy.
Barreca struggled to find game time with Monaco this season, only making 7 Ligue 1 appearances for the struggling French side this season. This could be due to the fact that Monaco run a system that is not favorable to the left back, rather than his pure ability. Monaco often run a true 3 in the back formation using midfielders instead of wingbacks as their wide players, or run a back 4. Neither system really works for Barreca, who is almost entirely a pure wingback.
Barreca previously declined a move to Newcastle after believing it was possible to work his way back into the lineup upon the departure of Thierry Henry. However, it was determined that he also isn’t in the plans of Leonardo Jardim, Monaco’s new(ish) manager.
Barreca is likely a depth signing to provide a more offensive minded fullback option for Rafa besides Paul Dummett. He would be the only other true left footed full back on the roster besides Dummett, and one of the only left footed fullbacks signed in the past 5 years.
Although he was brought in for depth, there is potential for Barreca to be something special as he was thought to be one of the most promising Italian talents just a couple of years ago. While at Torino the fullback garnered interest from Juventus, Roma and AC Milan before choosing to sign with Monaco.
Barreca is a player that has been described as technically gifted with a strong left foot. He has a pretty small frame, which could be concerning when playing in the Premier League, a league that is more physical than Ligue 1 and Serie A. He is very pacey, and like DeAndre Yedlin often relies too much on his pace to defend rather than being a good one on one defender, or closing down certain angles.
Rafa Benitez had this to say about the new signing:
The left-back/left-wing-back position is one we’ve been looking to strengthen for a while and he’s an Italy under-21 international who we know has quality, good delivery and is good going forward.
He has the attributes, he has the quality and he has the characteristics that we look for. Now we must see how quickly he can adapt, but we will try to help him and if he can give us more competition in this area, and more quality in the final third with his deliveries, the only thing I can see is a positive.
Barreca describes himself as an attack minded fullback and claims he can’t wait to get started here at Newcastle.
The fullback will wear number 23 with Newcastle, and the full video interview with Barreca can be found below.
You can watch Antonio Barreca's first interview as a Newcastle United player on NUFC TV now.— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) January 31, 2019
https://t.co/WcCKdA7GkF #NUFC pic.twitter.com/RsrYvH2lqa