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Forget It Rafa Benitez – Newcastle Are Better Off Avoiding This 6ft 2in Benfica Defender

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Lisandro Lopez

Why Newcastle United Should Avoid Signing Lisandro Lopez From Benfica

Newcastle United are set to revive their interest in Benfica centre-back Lisandro Lopez and make a move for the defender in January, according to reports from the Chronicle. 

The 28-year old Argentine was a subject of interest for the Magpies in the summer, with reports claiming that manager Rafael Benitez was intent on signing him. However, no move materialised for Lopez, with the Tynesiders instead signing Florian Lejeune. But, now they might be set to rekindle their summer pursuit of the player and make a move for him in January, if reports are to be believed.  

Lopez has been a bit of a forgotten man with the Portuguese champions in the past year or so. Last season, the defender appeared only on 19 occasions for Benfica in all competitions, with only 6 of them being league starts. In the ongoing campaign, he has featured on four occasions in all competitions and hasn’t been a part of a matchday squad since mid-September, missing four games in a row.  

And with reports of Benfica looking to bringing in a new centre-back in January doing the rounds, it is very much likely that Lopez will find himself further down the pecking order. So, a move away from Benfica cannot be ruled out at this point.  

Sure, Lopez might not be playing week in week out for Benfica, but that doesn’t mean he is a bad defender by any means. Tall and imposing at 6ft 2in, Lopez is strong in the air and good on the ground with his tackling. He also has that ability to spot the danger and make crucial interventions. Composed in pressure situations, he brings a sense of calm to the backline.  

In the current era where ball playing defenders are worth in gold, Lopez has demonstrated decent abilities with the ball at his feet and possesses an impressive range of distribution as well (last season he averaged a total of 54.1 passes per game and had a great accuracy of 84.3%). So, it is not like Newcastle would be investing in a player of poor quality if they decide to sign him.  

But do Newcastle really need another centre-back added to their ranks? 

Probably not. The Magpies, after a shaky start to their return season in the Premier League, seem to have found their footing and are going steadily. After a slow start to the season, a lot of credit for their upsurge of form in recent weeks goes to the defensive duo of Jamaal Lascelles and Ciaran Clark.  

Captain Lascelles has been brilliant to say the least and has led the team very well through a slightly troublesome period whereas Clark has been the ideal partner for the Englishman in the heart of the defence. With Florian Lejeune set to return from his early injury after the international break and Chancel Mbemba working his way back into Benitez’s plans this season, the Tynesiders surely seem very well stocked in the centre-half department.  

So, moving for another addition in the central defensive area, in the form of Lopez, in January, is a luxury that they can do without. Instead they should be looking to invest the same budget in bringing a new left-back, which has been an area of concern for the team.