More possession and composure is needed in Newcastle’s midfield.
As one of the worst passing teams in the league, Newcastle United have a major problem when it comes to maintaining possession in the midfield. The fact that the Magpies are heavily dependent on counter-attacks is troubling and a tactical modification is necessary.
While building for the future with young talent is important, the presence of veteran players in a team is just as crucial. Newcastle United should utilise the January transfer window to sign an experienced midfielder who possesses great vision, a strong work ethic at both ends and values collective success over individual praise.
Having young, talented midfielders like Mikel Merino, Jacob Murphy and Jonjo Shelvey is great for the future of the club, but bringing in an experienced midfielder to serve as their mentor would greatly contribute to their overall development.
NUFC Transfer Suggestions
Senad Lulic– Age: 31 – Club: Lazio – National Team: Bosnia & Herzegovina
The Bosnian international has played for Italian side Lazio since 2011. Overshadowed by national team-mates Miralem Pjanic and Edin Dzeko, Lulic is still perceived as a star in his home country and is well-respected among fans and pundits in the Serie A.
He has great vision and his dribbling techniques to move around defenders are a joy to watch. Known more for his passing ability and defensive work, Lulic is active in the attack as well. He is not afraid to strike from distance with a powerful shot that is often difficult to stop.
Lulic plays an integral role in midfield and, as a result, starts most matches for Lazio. He still has the pace, energy and strength to play in a major league for a few more years.
This young Newcastle squad could use his veteran leadership and should consider making an offer in January.
Lasse Schöne – Age: 31 – Club: Ajax – National Team: Denmark
The experienced midfielder from Denmark has been playing for Ajax since 2012. It should come as no surprise that he is a fan favourite in Amsterdam, as a result of his dedication to winning 50-50 balls and his ability to frequently deliver Pirlo-like free-kicks into the top corner.
At the club level with Ajax, Schöne knows what it takes for a team to win league titles and he has extensive experience playing Champions League football against quality opponents. Schöne also has useful experience at the international level, as he played for Denmark at Euro 2012.
With Schöne on the pitch, Newcastle United’s midfield would show more composure and better spacing, as his ability to score from distance would attract defenders closer to the ball.
It is worth mentioning that it would be difficult to persuade Schöne to leave Ajax for a rebuilding cause, but the thought of playing in the English Premier League under the lights of St. James’ Park every other week might be intriguing.