If there’s one thing about Newcastle United since the takeover, it’s that they simply do not make the kind of signings many would have expected.
Rather than overpay for aging superstars, the PIF era has instead been defined by clever recruitment, a strategy to have taken the team so far in such a short amount of time.
While fans can surely expect more in the way of investment this summer, it would seem unlikely top brass on Tyneside will change their approach too much.
Indeed, when Newcastle want a player, they tend to wait and avoid making a big move for a superstar just to plug the gap. Sven Botman and Anthony Gordon are both good examples of that, eventually arriving a transfer window after the one in which they were initially chased.
So then, it’s hardly surprising to see James Maddison continually linked.
Paul Merson tips Maddison as a better signing than Neymar
The £60m-rated Leicester midfielder was the subject of interest last summer and has again been touted as a potential target at the end of this season.
Enjoying a brilliant season on a personal basis despite a difficult campaign for Leicester, the 26-year-old has scored nine goals and registered five assists in 18 Premier League starts.
Now, the England international has been backed as a better signing for the club than Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar, who has dubiously been linked with a move to St James’ Park before or Eden Hazard, by pundit Paul Merson.
“Maddison is is a top-quality player who I’m a huge fan of – I think he’d be a fantastic signing for Newcastle,” Merson told Sports Keeda.
“He’d be a much better signing for them than the likes of Neymar and [Eden] Hazard if you think about their long-term project over four or five seasons.”
Merson’s right, Neymar and Hazard are ones to avoid
Given their respective careers, it seems strange to compare Maddison, Hazard and Neymar.
The latter is Brazil’s all-time leading goalscorer, a player to have won the Champions League with Barcelona and trinket after trinket at PSG. Still, at 31 and on huge wages in the French capital all while holding a worrying injury record, what really would be the point in moving for him?
A big name of course but a player who comes with off-field drama too. The same could also be said of Hazard, who has hardly featured much for Real Madrid in the last three years.
Maddison, meanwhile, will soon be in his prime and is coming towards the end of his Leicester contract. He, frankly, would be the sensible addition to Eddie Howe’s squad.