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Brentford’s up and coming Spanish star Jota is the subject of Premier League interest once again and this time, it is from Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle and Bilic’s West Ham United. Newcastle have been interested in the cultured left-footer for a while now and he would certainly make a good signing, but a rather ‘under the radar’ one.
Despite their relative riches in terms of wide players with Ritchie, Aarons, Atsu and Jacobs all at the club already, Rafa has seemed determined to add one more and the reason became clear towards the end of Newcastle’s friendly with Verona last Sunday.
Matt Ritchie moved to the centre, with Aarons and Murphy on either side of him. So it seems that the club’s failure to land Tom Cairney means the boss is looking to fill that central position from within. Ayoze Perez is better in the top league than he was in the Championship, but one more is needed and unsurprisingly, Benitez doesn’t fancy Mo Diame for this role.
Either Ritchie will deputise there when needed, or perhaps the new man may not be used out wide at all and could themselves play down the centre. Jota is very well capable of playing this role, having played there for Eibar in Spain while on loan.
Jota scored or created a goal every 100 minutes in the Championship last term in what was a real coming of age season and it seems he is ready for the step up to Premier League level now. The 26-year-old is just beginning to show signs of peaking and now would be the time to step in and sign him for a reasonable price.
As well as getting a close look at Jota when playing in the same league last season, Newcastle may well have asked for and received favourable reviews from Eibar too, a club they negotiated well with over the transfer of Florian Lejeune recently.
Jota has gained some valuable experience in Spain, keeping good company at the likes of Celta Vigo and Real Madrid before moving to England, where he has now settled in and knows what to expect. Much like Ayoze Perez, Jota’s style of play means he’d probably be even better in the Premier League than he is in the second tier and so he should take the apparent step up in his stride.
This is the sort of signing which can look incredibly clever over time, with players of Jota’s ability routinely going for around £30million odd, so long as they play for a Premier League team. If a deal can be done, it will be incredibly positive for Rafa.