Three Alternatives For Maxime Gonalons Who Newcastle United Can Target
Newcastle United’s frustrating transfer window continues as they look set to lose out on another key summer target. Olympique Lyon midfielder Maxime Gonalons, who Rafael Benitez was keen on signing (L’Equipe), is set to seal a transfer to Italian side AS Roma, as per reports from Sky Sports Italia.
The 28-year old has grown into one of the most complete defensive midfielders in France and has been performing at his best for Lyon for several years now. The captain of the French outfit, Gonalons made 45 appearances across all competitions last time around, scoring one goal and setting up three strikes for his teammates.
Benitez has been an admirer of the Frenchman’s abilities for long now, having monitored him during his days as the manager of Napoli. However, it was always going to be a difficult proposition to get him to move to St. James’ Park. Now with Roma set to sign him in the summer, Newcastle will be left in search for alternatives and here are three defensive midfielders they could target instead of the Italy-bound Gonalons.
The 29-year old Manchester City man is surplus to requirements at the Etihad stadium ahead of next season and will likely be allowed to move on in the summer.
Fernando is an old-school defensive midfielder that will bring a lot of steel to the Newcastle midfield. A tough-tackling, robust operator, with good range of passing as well, his presence will allow Jonjo Shelvey more freedom to go forward and work his magic in the attacking half of the pitch. A winner of numerous trophies in his career, he will also bring a winning mentality to the Magpies’ squad.
Last season, he made 27 appearances for the Citizens, most of which were from the bench and with the likes of Yaya Toure, Fernandinho, Ilkay Gundogan and Fabian Delph ahead of him in the pecking order, Fernando will definitely look for an exit and Newcastle could offer him a chance to stay in the Premier League.
The 29-year old Wolfsburg midfielder is reportedly set for an exit, with Serie A giants Inter Milan the most likely destination, but Newcastle can make a late swoop for Luiz Gustavo.
The Brazilian international has gathered enormous amount of experience in Germany and has won almost every title that is there for the taking at the club level, during his two years with Bayern Munich. A Champions League winner along with the Bundesliga title, German Super Cup and two DFB Pokal Cups (one with Bayern and Wolfsburg each), the 29-year old was also part of the Brazil squad that won the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2013. A leader on the pitch, Gustavo will bring in some much-needed solidity to the Newcastle midfield with his defensive nous and excellent reading of the game.
Last season, he made 32 appearances for Wolfsburg, who survived a relegation scare from the Bundesliga and with just a year left on his contract, he is expected to move on to greener pastures. A chance to ply his trade in the Premier League could be of great appeal.
A third Brazilian on the list, Lucas Leiva is also looking for an exit from Liverpool, after seeing his first team chances reduce last season and Benitez could make a swoop for his former ward.
Having been with the Reds for a decade now, the 30-year old has gained a wealth of experience and knowledge of the English football and will help a relatively young Newcastle squad make the transition from Championship football to the big leagues. Moreover, he will be playing for a manager who knows his game in and out and will know exactly what he will be bringing to the table.
Last season, he made 31 appearances for Liverpool in all competitions, scoring once and setting up three more. However, with no assurances of regular involvement in the side, he is willing to consider an exit. Newcastle should try and convince Lucas to stay in the Premier League.