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Newcastle United are left to rue choosing Emil Krafth over signing this 29-year-old Portuguese ace and here’s why

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Andre Almeida

Why Newcastle missed a trick by ditching Almeida in favour of Emil Krafth

During the summer transfer window, a report from The Shields Gazette claimed that Newcastle United were very keen to complete a move for Benfica right-back Andre Almeida.

However, the Magpies chose not to firm up their interest in the 29-year-old Portuguese veteran and those rumours linking Almeida with a potential switch to Tyneside gradually faded away without anything coming to fruition. 

Instead, Steve Bruce chose to invest in Swedish international Emil Krafth, who arrived at St.James’ Park in the summer to add more depth and quality to the Magpies’ right-back ranks. 

Well, it might be unfair to draw a conclusion just four games into the Premier League season but going by what we have seen of Krafth thus far, the move has already shown signs of backfiring. 

Despite a summer of heavy investment by the club’s standards, which included big-money deals for Joelinton and Allan Saint-Maximin, Newcastle haven’t had much joy in the opening stages of the season, with the Magpies just managing four points in four games. 

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Agreed, they did incredibly well to come away with a shock victory over Spurs away from home but Bruce will probably know that his team needs to show more consistency if they are to challenge for a top-ten finish in the Premier League this term. 

Much like in the previous campaign under Rafael Benitez, solidity at the back has once again been one of the positives from Newcastle’s start to the season. The centre-back trio of Lascelles, Schar and Dummett has looked quite formidable in a back-three system but Bruce will be less than impressed with how his wing-backs have performed till now. 

With DeAndre Yedlin out of action due to an injury, new signing Krafth has assumed the duties at right wing-back since the start of the campaign but the 25-year-old hasn’t really done any kind of justice to the confidence that Newcastle showed in his abilities in the summer. 

Krafth, who is more of an orthodox full-back has proven himself to be somewhat of a misfit in a wing-back role under Bruce. It has been pretty evident from his displays that he doesn’t have the pace and the natural abilities to race up and down the pitch and make a significant contribution to the attack. 

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The Swede’s failure has even forced Bruce to try out Javier Manquillo in a right wing-back role, although the former Liverpool man has been equally disappointing. With that in mind, one cannot help but wonder whether Newcastle missed a trick by not signing Andre Almeida, who looked like a more realistic fit for Bruce’s system on paper. 

Looking at the stats of Krafth and Almeida from the previous campaign, Almeida racked up 2 goals and 11 assists in the Primeira Liga as compared to Krafth’s meagre returns of 1 goal and 1 assist at Amiens in Ligue 1. 

Also, Almeida’s numbers of 1.8 tackles, 1.2 interceptions and 1.2 key passes per game put him head and shoulders above Krafth, who only managed 1.6 tackles, 0.6 interceptions and 0.5 key passes.

The Portuguese had a better pass completion rate of 80 as compared to Krafth’s 73.4, although that might have been due to the difference in the quality of the teams in question. 

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A five-time Primeira Liga winner with Benfica and a two-time Europa League runner-up, Almeida not only had the CV but also the quality to back it up at Newcastle United.

A veteran of over 250 games for a continental giant like Benfica, Almeida is still very much in his prime at 29 and it is still unclear as to why Newcastle ditched him in favour of a move for Krafth, who hardly has any laurels in his CV. 

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Undoubtedly, Almeida would have been a better fit for Newcastle’s tactics and it is not difficult to see why a move for him would have made more sense for a number of reasons.