Why Newcastle United made a mistake by not signing Afriyie Acquah
In July, a report from Football Ghana had claimed that Newcastle United were interested in signing Empoli midfielder Afriyie Acquah. But the Magpies didn’t make a concrete offer and the Ghanaian left Empoli to join Turkish club Yeni Malatyaspor.
Afriyie Acquah, 27, made a total of 28 appearances in the Serie A for Empoli last season but he could not do much to help his club beat the drop, as the Gli Azzurri finished 18th in the table. He played for Ghana at the 2015 and 2017 Africa Cup of Nations and made three appearances for the West Africans at the recent tournament in Egypt.
Newcastle, meanwhile, broke their club transfer record in the summer transfer window by signing Joelinton from Hoffenheim.
They also made some smart signings in Allan Saint-Maximin, Emil Krafth and Jetro Willems, while snapping up old boy Andy Carroll on a free transfer. But Steve Bruce, who replaced Rafael Benitez at the club’s helm, failed to address the issues in midfield.
The Toon Army released Mohamed Diame at the end of last season, leaving Bruce with very limited options in central midfield.
In Isaac Hayden, Jonjo Shelvey, Sean Longstaff, Ki Sung-yueng and Jack Colback, Bruce lacks quality and depth in the midfield department. And that’s why Afriyie Acquah could have been a smart signing for Newcastle.
A strong, tenacious, robust and hardworking defensive midfielder noted for his work ethic, stamina, close control and dribbling skills, Acquah is not only adept at breaking up the play and winning possession back for his team but he also excels with his ability to carry the ball forward with pace and switch the play with his tidy distribution.
The Ghana international works really hard in the engine room to ensure the team keeps ticking over.
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A tough tackler and an aggressive personality on the pitch, the ex-Torino man is someone who plays with his heart on the sleeve and never gives anything less than 100% on the pitch.
He is more than capable of helping his team both offensively and defensively due to his work-rate, composure, consistency, and ability to make penetrative runs into the opposition’s penalty area.
Such an experienced performer like Acquah was exactly needed in the midfield department at Newcastle.
The report claims the Ghanaian could have cost under £5million and at such price, he would have been a major coup for the Magpies. But as things stand, Bruce’s club have missed a big trick by not signing Acquah.