If there’s one type of player Newcastle need right now, it’s a creative midfielder.
Steve Bruce only has the likes of Isaac Hayden, Jonjo Shelvey and the Longstaff brothers to choose from in centre-midfield, and while they’re all good players, they’re unlikely to be playing defence-splitting through balls every week.
One player who can do that – and has previously been linked with the Magpies – is AC Milan’s Hakan Çalhanoğlu.
According to The Chronicle, the Turkey international was the subject of extensive scouting from Newcastle last season, with Lee Charnley clearly keen to see lots of the former Bayer Leverkusen man who moved to Italy for €25 million (£22 million).
In our view, the Magpies need to get him in January.
Why so quickly? Well, Gazzetta dello Sport say that Çalhanoğlu will be a free agent in July after rejecting a new contract offer at the San Siro.
Presumably, this will mean that the 26-year-old either leaves on the cheap in January, or AC Milan risk losing him for nothing in the summer. If the latter happens, we think a number of clubs will end up scrapping for a player who will surely be the hottest free agent on the market, leaving Newcastle with a battle on their hands.
What would be more sensible for Mike Ashley and Charnley from a business sense is making AC Milan a decent offer in January before a potential summer dogfight ensues over Çalhanoğlu’s services.
A shrewd businessman, surely Ashley would be able to see the benefits of landing a player who’d be unique in Bruce’s squad.
At 26 years of age, he should be in his peak years as a footballer – a point reinforced by his impressive tally of nine goals and nine assists in Serie A last season.
Newcastle must act quickly, or they risk losing out.