Why Newcastle United should go all out for Strasbourg’s Kenny Lala
Back in January, the Chronicle had claimed that Newcastle United were interested in signing Strasbourg right-back, Kenny Lala.
Kenny Lala, 27, had been featuring for Lens in the second tier before making the move to Strasbourg in 2017, where he has become an unlikely star.
He enjoyed his best-ever season in the Ligue 1 and has currently established one of the most decisive defenders in Europe’s top five leagues. He scored five goals and assisted 10 times in 40 games across all competitions, helping Strasbourg win the Coupa de la Ligue.
Newcastle wanted to lure Lala to St James’ Park in January, as they were the only English team heavily linked at that point.
Despite the Frenchman signing a new deal with Strasbourg until 2022, the Magpies must rekindle their interest in the full-back and make an attempt to sign him this summer.
Joelinton has arrived for a club-record fee at Newcastle this summer and, after Jake Turner and Kyle Scott was snapped up for free, OGC Nice winger Allan Saint-Maximin is now apparently on his way to St James’ Park. But Steve Bruce needs to bolster his squad further and aim to address his full-back problems ahead of next week’s transfer deadline.
DeAndre Yedlin and Javier Manquilo didn’t have the best of seasons last time out and the Magpies could do with an upgrade at right-back. Lala ticks a lot of boxes for them and could turn out to be a fantastic addition to Bruce’s backline if he settles quickly in English football.
Lala is renowned for his acceleration and pace but is also powerful in the tackle. He is a versatile player who can play at right-back, right midfield, right wing-back and on the opposite side of the pitch as well. The Frenchman was used in a more advanced role at times last season on the flank and would boost Newcastle’s attacking qualities.
The 27-year-old could be the ideal player to come in and give greater stability to Newcastle’s backline, whilst also fitting as a right wing-back in Bruce’s new 3-5-2 system. Not to forget, Lala is also creative, a decent finisher in front of goal and a set-piece expert.
Lala has come on leaps and bound over the past few years and is Ligue 1’s one of the most consistent full-backs. He has the technical and physical qualities to thrive in the Premier League and in Bruce’s system at Newcastle.
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If Bruce does manage to bring the Frenchman to St James’ Park, he could prove to be an inspired piece of business that propels the Tyneside-based club to a top-half finish on the table.