Why Newcastle United missed a trick by not signing Maxime Gonalons
Back in July, the Calciomercato had claimed that Newcastle United were interested in signing AS Roma midfielder Maxime Gonalons, but a deal didn’t materialise.
Maxime Gonalons, 30, was loaned to La Liga side Sevilla last term, but only managed 13 appearances for the Spanish outfit. He has since returned to AS Roma, where he has two years left on his contract. However, the Frenchman’s time at the club may not last long as he is surplus to requirements.
Newcastle United, meanwhile, lost their opening Premier League fixture at home to Arsenal before Steve Bruce’s side were beaten 3-1 by newly promoted Norwich City at Carrow Road.
The low-key performances have made critics question whether Bruce was the right man to replace Rafael Benitez, who left for China after his contract wasn’t renewed.
The Magpies made a few signings in the summer transfer window, with the likes of Joelinton and Allan Saint-Maximin catching the eye. But Bruce didn’t bolster his options in the midfield when it was clearly needed, especially after the release of Mohamed Diame.
Diame was a combative presence in the middle of the park and added a lot of energy and intensity to the team. It was expected that the Senegalese’s void would be filled and as things stand, Bruce has the likes of Jonjo Shelvey, Isaac Hayden, Ki Sung-yeung and Sean Longstaff as options in central midfield.
Maxime Gonalons could have been the ideal like-to-like Diame replacement for the Toon. The 30-year-old may have struggled over the last couple of seasons due to injuries and lack of form, but he is a highly experienced midfield operator who has racked up 334 appearances for his former club Lyon.
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The Frenchman is not only vastly experienced, but he is also a leader. The midfielder captained Lyon for a number of years and was one of their most consistent players.
The eight-cap France international is a good distributor of the ball, a tough tackler and an aggressive personality on the pitch. He is someone who plays with his heart on the sleeve and never gives anything less than 100% on the pitch.
Such a personality would have been welcomed at Newcastle. Gonalons could have made a massive difference with his presence on and off the pitch, whilst replacing the departed Diame. Hence, Bruce and co. have made a big blunder by missing out on the French midfielder.