10 goals, 5 assists – This 24-year-old Serie A ace has all the skills needed to shore up Newcastle United’s midfield

Why Newcastle United should reignite their interest in Seko Fofana

Back in June during the summer transfer window, a report from Italian outlet Calciomercato claimed that Newcastle United were interested in signing midfielder Seko Fofana from Udinese.

However, nothing came to fruition and the 24-year-old continued to ply his trade in the Italian top-flight. 

The Magpies would then go on to complete big-money deals for attacking duo Joelinton and Allan Saint-Maximin, while full-backs Emil Krafth and Jetro Willems also came through the door in the summer, with the latter arriving on loan from Eintracht Frankfurt. 

Despite spending a considerable amount of cash in the summer window, Newcastle have endured a nightmarish start to the Premier League season under new manager Steve Bruce, who took over the reins from Rafael Benitez. 

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With only a solitary win and four defeats in their first seven fixtures, the Magpies currently sit second-bottom in the standings and early signs suggest that Bruce is going to have his work cut out in steering the club to safety in the Premier League this term. 

Furthermore, a dismal goal difference of -9 pretty much sums up their woeful run of form and a tally of just 4 goals in 7 games isn’t much to write home about, after all.

Looking at the statistics, Newcastle United have one of the lowest average possession in the top-flight and anybody who would have watched them play is likely to be aware of the team’s ongoing issues. 

The Magpies have built a reputation for frustrating the opposition with their dull, boring and ultra-defensive approach but even that couldn’t save them from the ignominy of a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Leicester City this week. 

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Suffice to say, Newcastle need to bring in more quality reinforcements in all areas of the pitch to challenge for better things in the Premier League than just avoiding relegation season after season and, to that end, reigniting interest in Ivorian international Seko Fofana would definitely be a step in the right direction. 

Isaac Hayden and Sean Longstaff, though really handy tough-tackling midfielders, lack composure and creativity in possession, Ki Sung-yueng is seemingly past his prime and Jonjo Shelvey’s career has been on the decline for a number of years now. Hence, it is not surprising to see why the Magpies have struggled to outclass the opposition in the middle of the park.

Fofana, on the contrary, is very much in his prime at the age of 24 and has a good all-round game to make an impact in any league. The Ivorian failed to make it to the first-team at Man City but he has really established himself as a solid central midfielder in the Serie A since his move to Udinese back in 2016. 

The 24-year-old, who also had loan stints at Fulham and Bastia, boasts of a tally of 10 goals and 5 assists in 91 appearances for Udinese in all competitions till date, numbers which are quite decent for a central midfielder.

Essentially a No.8 box-to-box midfielder by trade, Fofana is also capable of playing further up the pitch in a more attacking role or even as an anchor in the middle of the park. 

A strong, tenacious and hardworking midfielder with a good burst of pace, Fofana is not only capable of contributing equally to both defensive and offensive phases of the game with his work-rate but his vision to split the lines with incisive through balls, as well as the ability to create space with his silky dribbling skills, make him a player to watch out for. 

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An excellent all-round midfielder tailor-made for the Premier League, Fofana would certainly be an upgrade on Ki Sung-yueng, while his arrival is also likely to increase competition for places in an area of the pitch where a lot of depth is often desired. 

Newcastle reigniting interest in the 24-year-old Ivorian enforcer would add that much-needed spark to their midfield and, with that in mind, Bruce should go all out in his pursuit of the Serie A star in January.

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Written by Sayan Chatterjee

A Premier League enthusiast and an avid follower of the beautiful game... keen eye for tactical battles and love to discuss the financial aspects of football...other hobbies include reading, listening to music, playing FIFA on PlayStation, traveling, etc.
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