Why Seko Fofana would be a smart acquisition for Newcastle United
Back in June, the Calciomercato (h/t the Shields Gazette) had claimed that Newcastle United were interested in signing Udinese’s Seko Fofana. However, a deal didn’t go through and he continued to ply his trade in the Serie A.
Seko Fofana, 24, failed to make the grade at Manchester 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 Paris-born Ivory Coast international, who also had loan stints at Fulham and Bastia, played 32 matches in all competitions for Udinese in the 2018-19 season and ended the season with 2 goals and 4 assists.
The central midfielder has started the new Serie A season well, managing eight appearances so far, although he is yet to open his account. With Fofana having continued to impress with Udinese, Newcastle would be wise to rekindle their interest and sign him during the January transfer window.
Despite splashing the cash to bolster their attack in the summer with marquee signings Joelinton and Allan Saint-Maximin, the Magpies have largely endured a disappointing 2019/20 campaign, albeit shock victories over Tottenham and Manchester United have given the fans something to cheer about.
There has hardly been any cohesion and invention in the midfield to complement the industry and relentless defensive work. Newcastle still have plenty of gaps to plug if they are really serious about maintaining their top-flight status.
Central midfield is an area which needs strengthening despite Jonjo Shelvey’s return to form. Barring the red card against Leicester City, Isaac Hayden has been decent this season. Sean Longstaff and Matty Longstaff have done well in patches but the Magpies need someone to link the play between the midfield and the attack.
A 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, diligent and tenacious player, the 24-year-old likes to make driving runs from one box to the other, using his long legs and energy to good effect.
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The Ivorian likes to take shots from outside the box, as evident from his 1.6 shots per game this season. He has averaged 0.9 tackles, 0.3 interceptions and 0.1 blocks for Udinese in the Serie A, which tells Fofana never shirks away from completing his defensive responsibilities as well. [Courtesy: WhoScored.com]
An excellent all-round midfielder tailor-made for the Premier League, Fofana and Newcastle could prove to be a match made in heaven if Steve Bruce manages to land him in January. In the video below, one could see the Ivorian’s style of play and the qualities he could bring at St. James’ Park if a deal goes through.