Newcastle United went into the International break off the back of two disappointing defeats on the trot, losing 2-0 to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League was a knock to morale but losing by the same scoreline to AFC Bournemouth directly after in the Premier League started to really sound the alarm bells at St James’ Park.
The Magpies have fallen victim to their congested fixture schedule, Eddie Howe having to field 17-year-old Lewis Miley in central midfield versus the Cherries as a direct consequence with an overwhelming lethargy present in his faltering group currently.
Howe will pray that signings are forthcoming through the door this upcoming January transfer window to help his team, bolstering his depleted squad with positive reinforcements to hopefully manage the next compact slog of fixtures better.
One incoming into the building could potentially be Genoa centre-back Radu Drăgușin, the Romanian defender a wanted man at this moment in time with the Serie A club attempting everything in their power to keep the 21-year-old in Italy past January.
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Available for just £26m according to Italian outlet TuttoMercatoWeb, Genoa’s star defender in Drăgușin is attracting interest from a whole host of suitors in the Premier League alongside the Magpies – Tottenham and Newcastle, alongside Brighton, potentially butting heads to see who comes out on top in pursuing the 21-year-old.
Newcastle’s concrete interest in the young defender could be hampered by football transfer expert Fabrizio Romano reporting on social media that Genoa are close to tieing their impressive number five down to a new long-term contract at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris regardless of transfer rumours floating about.
Yet, with interest nearer to home coming in the form of Roma according to CalcioMercato, it’ll be intriguing to see whether or not Drăgușin stays put at Genoa and accepts a new deal or ups and leaves to join a new club.
Howe will hope the promising Romanian defender is tempted by a move to the Magpies, Drăgușin key for his current Serie A employers this season and would be a sterling addition to the Newcastle backline.
Drăgușin’s style of play
If the 6 foot 3 defender does end up relocating to Tyneside this January from Genoa, he would more than likely displace Jamaal Lascelles in the Magpies’ first-team – Drăgușin a far more forward-thinking option at the back compared to Lascelles, offering Howe’s men something different and fresh in the process.
Over the last year playing in Serie A, the 21-year-old centre-back has received 0.58 progressive passes per 90 minutes according to FBRef. In contrast, Newcastle’s number six has received an inferior 0.22 progressive passes over the same time span, indicating the former enjoys playing in possession more.
Drăgușin’s ability to help out his Genoa teammates going forward was clear in their last Serie A match, the lofty defender scoring the only goal of the contest with Genoa beating Hellas Verona in an tight contest 1-0 – a “spectacular” volley hit with some venom by the centre-back breaking the deadlock.
The 21-year-old was also prepared to do the dirty work to help his team secure the three points in league action, clearing the ball away from danger nine times in the contest as per Sofascore to clinch a clean sheet for his side. That certainly backs up the praise from scout Jacek Kulig who has hailed his “dominant & complete” qualities in the past.
In stark contrast, Lascelles underwhelmed versus Bournemouth – only winning one of his three attempted ground duels as per Sofascore, Dominic Solanke benefitting from lax Magpies defending to score twice in a straightforward victory for the Cherries on the night.
With Dan Burn also sidelined through injury, another potential centre-back option absent for Howe to pick from, signing Drăgușin could be a masterstroke this January if pulled off.
If the Magpies were successful, an ageing Lascelles would have to make way for the young Romanian star to blossom at St James’ Park.