Why Milan Badelj could be an excellent signing for Newcastle
According to recent reports, a deal to sign Croatian international Milan Badelj has emerged as an option for Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez. The 29-year old, who performed admirably for Croatia during their memorable run to the final at the World Cup, is available on a free transfer this summer.
He spent the last 4 years at Italian side Fiorentina but now his contract has come to an end. Benitez would be wise to look into the option of bringing in Badelj, especially given the lack of funds.
During the World Cup, Badelj made three appearances, scoring one goal and providing an assist. He has been capped 41 times by his country, scoring twice.
As far as his club career is concerned, he came through the Dinamo Zagreb youth ranks, making 189 appearances for the club in all competitions. He also scored 44 goals. In his home country. Badelj also had a brief loan spell at Lokomotiva, where he scored 7 times in 28 matches.
The 29-year-old spent four very decent seasons at Fiorentina after initially arriving from German side Hamburger SV in the summer of 2014. During his four-year stint with the Italian giants, Badelj was a constant presence in midfield, making exactly 140 appearances for the team.
With Mikel Merino gone, Newcastle need a new central midfielder. The Croat is a classy footballer with superb passing ability, whilst also possessing the quality to break up play and control proceedings in the holding midfield role. His tackling is also top notch and he could prove to be extremely useful for the Magpies.
In fairness, the middle of the park is not the area where Newcastle need the emergency strengthening. Even if Isaac Hayden leaves, we shouldn’t forget the presence of Ki, Shelvey and Diame in the squad.
However, if he arrives, Jonjo Shelvey and Ki Sung-Yeung will have the freedom to provide the necessary spark in the final third as Newcastle attempt to follow up with another impressive display in the upcoming campaign.
Even though Badelj has no Premier League experience, he’ll be a great addition to the Magpies’ squad. He’s played in the German and Italian top-flights, as well as appearing in two European Championships and two World Cups. And given the fact he’s available for free, Benitez should do everything in his power to bring him to St. James’ Park.