Why Nikola Kalinic could be a good short-term fix for Newcastle United
According to claims from Italian outfit Il Corriere, as cited by Daily Mail, Newcastle United have been offered the chance to sign Atletico Madrid striker Nikola Kalinic, who is currently out on loan at Roma in the Serie A.
The 31-year-old is expected to return to Atletico after making just 4 Serie A appearances for Roma during the first half of the season, with the Italian outfit keen to replace the Croatian international with Real Madrid star Mariano Diaz. (Il Corriere h/t Daily Mail)
As per the report, Kalinic has already turned down loan moves to Verona and Genoa in Italy and while it is still unclear whether a temporary switch to St. James’ Park would appeal to him, the Magpies have already made contact with the former AC Milan and Fiorentina striker.
Kalinic is widely remembered for his heroics at now-defunct Ukrainian side Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, having played a key role in the club’s unlikely surge to the finals of the 2014-15 UEFA Europa League where they eventually lost to champions Sevilla.
The Croatian thereafter embarked on a successful journey in the Italian top-flight, scoring 33 goals in 84 appearances for Fiorentina and subsequently featuring for AC Milan before moving across the continent to join Atletico Madrid back in 2018.
However, Kalinic only played a bit-part role at the Wanda Metropolitano, scoring twice in 17 La Liga outings last term, before returning to Italy with Roma on a season-long loan deal.
Meanwhile, Newcastle United have faltered once again in recent games after an impressive run of form that saw the Magpies win five out of their eight Premier League fixtures, stretching from the start of November until a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Man United on Boxing Day.
Steve Bruce’s side seem to have returned to their old unimpressive ways after losing three consecutive games against Man United, Everton and Leicester City, and with tricky fixtures against Everton, Chelsea and Wolves coming up in January, the manager has plenty of food for thought.
While stability at the back has undoubtedly been one of the hallmarks of Newcastle’s style of play under Bruce, a tally of just 20 goals scored in 21 games means that the Magpies will surely need to cast their rods into the January transfer pond in a bid to add more spark to their rather toothless attack.
As a matter of fact, 9 out of those 20 goals have been contributed by defenders, Fabian Schar, Federico Fernandez, Jamaal Lascelles, Ciaran Clark and Jetro Willems, whilst central midfielder Jonjo Shelvey is currently the club’s top-scorer in the Premier League with 5 goals.
Hence, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Newcastle’s strike force simply hasn’t done enough, with the likes of Miguel Almiron, Andy Carroll, Joelinton, Yoshinori Muto, Dwight Gayle and Allan Saint-Maximin just sharing three goals among them so far in the Premier League.
To that end, Newcastle United’s links with a bonafide goalscorer like Nikola Kalinic certainly makes a lot of sense, given that the Magpies need to bring in someone during the mid-season trading period who could possibly make an immediate impact in the Premier League.
At 31, Kalinic might not fit the profile of young and developing players put forward by owner Mike Ashley but securing his services on loan wouldn’t necessarily violate that policy.
The Croatian has a wealth of experience of playing in several top leagues across Europe and his arrival at St. James’ Park would undoubtedly hand a massive boost to the club’s ailing forward line.
With Gayle, Joelinton, Muto and Carroll competing for the centre-forward role, Newcastle would probably need to sell before they bring in a new player.
Gayle has never really been a good enough striker at the Premier League level and offloading him to a Championship club before the deadline would make sense.
Interestingly, Kalinic is not a stranger when it comes to playing in the Premier League. Blackburn Rovers signed the then 21-year-old striker from Hajduk Split way back in 2009 and the Croat went on to score 13 goals in 53 appearances for the Lancashire outfit.
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Having said that, Nikola Kalinic might not fit the bill as a long-term fix but Newcastle United would surely make a big statement of intent if they manage to secure the services of the Atletico Madrid star on a loan deal.