Why Ryan Manning could be a real coup for Newcastle United
According to the Daily Star, Newcastle United are weighing up a deal for Queens Park Rangers star Ryan Manning, with the Magpies currently on the lookout for options to bolster their squad in January following an ill-fated start to the season.
Despite coming out of their miserly habits to splash the cash on marquee signings like Joelinton and Allan Saint-Maximin in the summer, Newcastle haven’t had much joy in the Premier League thus far. The Magpies are currently languishing 16th in the standings after winning only two of their first eight league fixtures.
Steve Bruce, though, has gone some way to proving his credentials by guiding the team to victories over Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur in the first couple of months, amidst swatches of unrest amongst the supporters since the departure of Rafael Benitez.
Despite that, one does get the feeling that the Magpies would need to dip into the transfer market once again in January, preferably for some bargain signings to enhance their chances of avoiding a relegation dogfight. Thus, their interest in Ryan Manning doesn’t come as a big surprise.
The 23-year-old Irishman has really come into his own in the Championship this season ever since QPR manager Mark Warburton shifted him to a left wing-back role in his back-five system.
Manning has started each of QPR’s first eleven league fixtures, playing every minute of their campaign thus far and registering three assists in the process.
Manning, who made his move to QPR from Irish club Galway United back in January 2015, plied his trade in various midfield roles in his previous campaigns at Loftus Road but a move to a rather unfamiliar wing-back position this term has brought the best out of him.
The Republic of Ireland U21 international has surpassed all expectations by outplaying more accomplished and established players in his new role and his rich vein of form early in the campaign hasn’t eluded the eyes of Newcastle United, who are already eyeing up the possibility of bringing him to Tyneside in January on a cut-price deal.
Manning is out of contract at Loftus Road next summer and, while QPR have the option to extend his stay by a further 12 months, it is understood that a fee of around £3million could be enough to get a deal over the line in January. (h/t Daily Star)
To put things into perspective, Newcastle can certainly do with better personnel in the wing-back slots, with Steve Bruce showing an inclination to rely on a back-five system, and the acquisition of a utility player Ryan Manning could prove to be a shrewd piece of business in the longer run.
As per the whoscored, the 23-year-old has racked up some eye-watering figures in the Championship in a left wing-back role, averaging 2.3 tackles, 1.4 interceptions, 2.3 key passes, 2.6 crosses and 2.3 successful long balls per game and, with Newcastle scoring only 5 times in 8 games, it is not difficult to see that Manning could add that creative spark further up the pitch.
An injury to veteran Matt Ritchie has paved the way for Eintracht Frankfurt loanee, Jetro Willems, to nail down a regular starting role on the left-hand side of the backline and, while the Dutchman has impressed with some good all-round displays, it remains to be seen whether the Magpies would be able to sign him up permanently.
To that end, a move for Ryan Manning would definitely make sense for a number of reasons and his experience as a midfielder means that Bruce can afford to look at him as a versatile utility player in the ranks, someone who could possibly provide cover and competition in multiple areas of the pitch.
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Such a trait of versatility is always desirable and the touted fee of £3million is almost next to nothing in the modern-day transfer market where money flows like water.
With that in mind, Newcastle could land themselves a massive bargain if they manage to complete a move for the QPR star in January.