After a massive takeover, Premier League outfit Newcastle United went big in the January transfer window. Eddie Howe’s side signed up to 5 players to bolster their squad and fill in the gaps.
The window witnessed a frantic and quite chaotic conclusion. By now, the new owners certainly will have understood the kind of task it will be to rebuild a club into a superpower.
The Magpies presently are in contention to avoid relegation. A sudden influx of money and now ambition has landed the club and its players in a tough situation.
By no means is it simple to complete deals through and through – acquire a signing at market value or persuade high-profile players that donning Newcastle colors is worth the risk.
Eventually, it did turn out fruitful for Eddie Howe. 5 new players penned contracts for a sum of £90,000,000 ($122,000,000). The most distinct feature about the signings is their practicality, despite a number of links with Anthony Martial and Aaron Ramsey.
Newcastle United buff up backline
Newcastle United chose to target players who are prepared to battle the drop this term. They prioritized players with Premier League experience and desperation to prove themselves on Tyneside.
As the window neared, the Magpies were in dire need of defensive augmentation.
Before Eddie Howe, their backline was in complete disarray. Opposing teams easily breaking them down resulted in their manager torn between his attacking approach and a more progressive style. Howe’s record, on the other hand, told a completely different story. His side registered an average of 66 concessions per year spanning 5 PL campaigns. He was in dire need of a backline refresh.
Joining from Brighton, Dan Burn is an imposing presence in defense who blossomed under Graham Potter. A £13,000,000 ($18,000,000) move from the Seagulls definitely is an upgrade.
Opposite Burn, Kieran Trippier is reliable on the right side. His being on the wings ought to positively influence the showings of his partnering defenders.
Aston Villa man Matt Targett provides a solid option at left-back. With midfielder Matt Ritchie filling in that position, Targett’s arrival will indeed be a welcome one.
Tactics, Tactics, Tactics!
For any team, bringing in better defenders implies strengthening the backline and in turn better defending. However, it was a case of rethinking tactics for Howe.
At Bournemouth, his side was fundamentally playing far too expansive football. Lining up in a 4-4-2, they were too far apart and looked irregular while pressing. This gave opponents an opportunity to cut in between too easily.
Luckily, The Magpies’ new acquisitions are stronger in this regard. Burn, Trippier, and Bruno Guimaraes possesses great ability on the ball. They are highly capable of retaining possession under pressure and hence keep the ball in their own half. Basically, Newcastle United can hope to see more of the ball and begin to progress further up the field. This refrains from committing the errors of Howe’s Bournemouth side.
The Englishman aimed to cause a shift away from possession-based football to holding a deeper line and switching up to a counter-attack. That way, as he joined Newcastle, employing a style that lies between the two makes more sense.
Player to Watch – Bruno Guimaraes
The man under the spotlight for the Magpies will be Bruno Guimaraes. The Brazilian joins Newcastle for a fee amounting to £33,000,000 ($44,000,000) from Lyon – an absolute steal. Guimaraes is a talented central midfielder, proficient in breaking up play, recycling possession, and engineering opportunities credited to his sharp pinpoint passing. His intelligence on the pitch should help Newcastle hold more of the ball and move forward while doing so.
That trait will substantially decrease their chances of being stretched out wide and hit on the counter given the spaces in between.
Howe will continue to shape his side into a possession-retaining unit. To aid his efforts, Chris Wood has arrived from Burnley. Wood being a target man offers a solid option upfront. Trippier’s dead-ball delivery coupled with Guimaraes’ long passes up the pitch can help Wood bring a new dimension to the Magpies’ attack.
All said and done, it has been a good window for Howe’s men. Given the talent they acquired, they are considerably stronger now and have a better chance at surviving the drop. However, at the end of the day, it is football and anything is possible.
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