Newcastle: Nicolo Zaniolo could unlock Isak
Newcastle United have bolstered their attacking ranks with the signing of Harvey Barnes this summer, while addressing the need for a first-rate midfielder by swooping for Sandro Tonali.
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The respective signings have cost Eddie Howe’s side just short of £100m, but given the club’s affluence and imminent Champions League journey after finishing fourth in the Premier League last term, there are likely to be further incomings.
I news have reported this week that Magpies supporters should expect two more signings to arrive at St. James’s Park this summer, and while one place will likely be taken by a defender, the soon-confirmed departure of Allan Saint-Maximin opens the door for another offensive move.
Should Howe indeed decide to target that area of the pitch again, Galatasaray’s Nicolo Zaniolo could be the man for the job…
What’s the latest on Nicolo Zaniolo to Newcastle?
According to Tuttomercatoweb, United technical director Dan Ashworth has requested information from the Lions regarding the availability of the Italy international, who only joined from Roma last winter.
Galatasaray are reluctant to part with the 24-year-old and will not even consider offers below €35m (£30m), and it’s now up to the Premier League side to decide whether they can afford to part with such a sum for another offensive talent.
How good is Nicolo Zaniolo?
Previously hailed as “incredible” by Daniele De Rossi, Zaniolo burst onto the scene as a first-rate prospect but saw his rise detrimentally hampered by two anterior cruciate ligament injuries in 2020, ruling him out of 67 matches throughout the 19/20 and 20/21 campaigns.
He did demonstrate his quality and resilience by showcasing his skills during the 21/22 season, scoring eight goals and supplying nine assists for Jose Mourinho’s Roma across 42 outings – netting the only goal in the Europa Conference League final against Feyenoord.
Falling out of favour last season, Zaniolo made the switch to Galatasaray in January and has impressed during his six months in Turkey, scoring five goals from 12 outings, leaving Howe hoping to bring him to the Premier League and make use of his striking ability.
His natural goal-scoring instinct is something that Howe is seemingly targetting at St. James’s Park, with Barnes a player of similar profile, scoring 13 goals for Leicester City last term and likened as a ‘Similar Player’ to Zaniolo, as per FBref.
Given that FBref also ranks 13-cap Italy star among the top 3% of attacking midfielders and wingers across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year, the fleet-footed maverick could ease the burden on Newcastle talisman Alexander Isak this season.
Signing in a club-record £63m deal from Real Sociedad one year ago, the Swede scored ten goals and supplied three assists from 27 outings across all competitions during an injury-disrupted campaign, and fans will eagerly await his performances this year as he looks to take the next step in his development.
Isak, also aged 23, ranks among the top 17% of forwards for progressive passes, the top 16% for progressive carries and the top 7% for successful take-ons per 90, which effectively illustrates his energy and exuberance that could allow Zaniolo – who finds dangerous openings with regularity – to thrive.
The dynamic forward, combined with the directness of Barnes and Zaniolo, could result in a fruitful season for Newcastle and United must look at completing a move for the Italian maverick to boost their chances both domestically and in Europe.