Newcastle United are reportedly hoping to make another move for Burnley defender James Tarkowski this summer, having missed out on a deal back in January.
What’s the word?
According to NewcastleWorld, the Magpies are set to make another play for the 29-year-old at the end of the season, with the £19.8m-rated man set to be available on a free transfer as his existing deal nears its expiry.
Reports back in the winter window had seen the former Oldham man heavily linked with a switch to St James’ Park, although the Clarets held firm to knock back any interest, having already lost striker Chris Wood to their then-relegation rivals.
With seemingly little hope of the £50k-per-week colossus staying at Turf Moor beyond this summer – having already rejected previous contract offers from the club – Eddie Howe’s side appear to have renewed optimism at finally getting their man.
At the time of their interest back in January, Newcastle were still very much in the mix for relegation, having picked up just five points from the opening 11 games prior to the appointment of the former Bournemouth boss.
At present, however, the northeast side are still in contention for a top-half finish, having surged their way to 43 points, with their winter investment having more than paid off with almost all their new additions hitting the ground running.
Is Tarkowski an upgrade on Lascelles?
That being said, there is apparently still major surgery needed to turn the once-struggling outfit into real, genuine contenders in the upper echelons of the table, with the reported interest in Tarkowski apparently a sign that there is still plenty more work to be done. .
The centre-back’s arrival could also mean the end for captain Jamaal Lascelles, with pundit Paul Robinson suggesting that the former Nottingham Forest man is currently on “borrowed time” at the club.
The 28-year-old has failed to truly build on his early promise at the club, while his defensive statistics make for tough viewing, as he ranks in just the top 94% among those in his position across Europe’s top five leagues for tackles made , as well as in just the top 82% for interceptions.
Tarkowski, by contrast, ranks in the top 23% for tackles made and is in the top 1% for clearances, blocks and also aerial duels, while he also makes his presence known at the other end of the pitch, ranking in the top 1 % for touches made in the attacking penalty area.
Previously dubbed a “top pro” by former boss Sean Dyche, the two-cap international is the type of figure needed at the club at present. He may not be flashy, but his defensive talent is obvious for all to see, while the chance to snap him up on a free makes him a bargain option.
With 191 Premier League appearances to his name, the experience in his legs could well see him replace Lascelles…
IN other news, NUFC “have been offered” the chance to sign £40m phenomenon, supporters surely buzzing