Will the La Liga curse continue for Newcastle United?

Yoshinori Muto of Newcastle United. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
Yoshinori Muto of Newcastle United. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images) /

Newcastle United have seen some players who struggled on Tyneside turn things around in Spain in recent years.

As a team, Newcastle United are focused on their next fixture against Brighton at St. James’ Park on Sunday, but the front office is still working on transfer business.

Jamal Lewis, formerly of Norwich City, is the last player to walk through the door for the Magpies, but a few players have also gone the other way. Florian Lejeune agreed to a season-long loan move to La Liga outfit Alaves, and striker Yoshinori Muto is also in Spain as a loanee, but he will be wearing the colors of Eibar this season.

This is the fourth time over the past few seasons that Newcastle United have seen their players leave for La Liga in both loan deals and permanent transfers. The players who have moved on permanently are Mikel Merino (Real Sociedad, 2018) and Joselu (Alaves, 2019).

Both players were signed by Rafa Benitez in the summer of 2017, but they failed to impress in the north east. Merino was seen as a player who could lead the Magpies’ midfield for years to come, but he struggled to develop consistency, and only had one goal and one assist to his name in 24 top flight appearances.

A lot has changed for Merino since his departure, though. In two seasons with Real Sociedad, Merino has experienced quite the resurgence with ten goals and four assists.

His improved form has also earned him two call-ups to the Spanish national team for the UEFA Nations League in recent months.

Joselu had a similar experience to Joelinton on Tyneside, but some fans today will argue that the Spaniard was much better than the Brazilian. Joselu made 46 Premier League appearances for Newcastle United, but he only found the back of the net on six occasions.

The front office took a £3.8m loss in his transfer when they sold Joselu to Alaves for £1.2m last summer. Fans were happy to see the striker leave, but then he went on to score 11 goals and provide two assists for Alaves. His 11 goals made him the tenth-highest scorer in La Liga.

Fans will now be monitoring Japanese international striker Yoshinori Muto to see if he will also turn things around in Spain. Aside from scoring an impressive goal against Manchester United in 2018, Muto has not done anything in a black and white jersey.

The striker has laced up 25 times for Newcastle United in the Premier League, but has only taken seven shots, and scored once. Muto’s scoring record at Mainz (20 goals in 66 games) is why the Toon brought him in, but he has been a major disappointment.

It will be interesting to see how he performs during his loan spell at Eibar, but it would also be a bit frustrating to see him transform into a scoring machine after what he has shown at Newcastle United.

Next. This is why Joelinton is constantly criticized. dark