While it may be telling that Leipzig was willing to part with the attacker while they are fighting for the last Champions League position just ahead of Borussia Dortmund, it’s an aggressive move that is surely meant to help fill the void left by James Maddison’s lingering hamstring injury.
With the Magpies struggling to find an answer on the Right Wing and Callum Wilson out through January, what are some options?
It’s not that I’m Miggy Almiron out by any means, and most of the vitriol I see in the media is way out of line—but clearly when Kieran Trippier is not at 100% our entire right side is impotent.
Here’s an easy reference point: last season Newcastle United led the Premier League in corner kicks with 270 to Manchester City’s 238. So far this season, we are ranked 13th with 96. That’s 3 behind Luton Town! Currently, the squad is on pace for 182 this season, down 33%. Many of these corners came from the interplay between Trippier/Almiron overlapping with Sean Longstaff falling behind to cover defensively.
It was a joy to watch that healthy Trippier return on Saturday in the 3-0 victory over Sunderland, and it’s no coincidence that it coincided with the praise showered on Miggy by multiple online outlets. But the upcoming fixtures include Manchester City and Aston Villa, and Alexander Isak can’t be responsible for all of the offensive output during Wilson’s absence.
One of the most interesting new faces linked to a Premier League move is the 27-year-old Guinean (previously France through the U-20s) striker Serhou Guirassy. The attacker has finally seemed to find his apex form after bouncing between ten clubs over his ten years of professional football, culminating in the current Bundesliga season where he sits in 2nd place behind Harry Kane with 18 goals in 14 appearances.
Over that decade, Guirassy has had to prove himself on the reserve sides of two French Ligue 1 squads, one Bundesliga II squad, and three separate loan spells. Throw in his age and the AFCON Cup that begins this weekend, and you can see why clubs like Manchester United have been keeping tabs on the player but have not pulled the £15m release clause…yet. At £56K/week, his wages align with Newcastle’s Dan Burn and Emil Krafth, although there’s no telling if his agent will be trying to leverage the current season into a more lucrative long-term deal.
Another offensive piece I would like to see in the Black and White would be Gabri Veiga, who was linked to Newcastle during this same transfer window last year. I was singing Veiga’s praises in a writeup last summer here, alongside some guy named Mohammad Kudus who is now amongst the most popular players on a surging West Ham.
Veiga can play on either wing and was playing on the right wing when his game-winning goal versus Barcelona last year kept his boyhood club Celta Vigo from being relegated. While his name has not been mentioned among the growing contingent of players preparing to leave the Saudi Pro League, it stands to reason that many of these footballers have stuffed their wallets throughout this season and are ready to return to Europe.
At 21, he has never played for a club that was ever in contention for the Champions League, let alone Europe. And it would have to be assumed that should a number of these heralded names leave the Saudi League, it would hurt Veiga’s chances of breaking into the Spain squad in the coming years. Guirassy is the flashy choice, while Veiga is the long-term option.
If you were Howe, where would you turn, or are there other names you would like to see Newcastle make a move for this January?