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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Newcastle can sign Kante 2.0 in Kone

Newcastle United are reportedly set to return for summer transfer target Kouadio Kone, who could flourish within the growing pool of talent at St James’s Park.

What’s the word?

French outlet Media Foot stated last summer that Borussia Monchengladbach’s Kone was subject to a failed €35m (£31m) transfer bid from Newcastle boss Eddie Howe, who was enamoured with the ubiquity of his multi-faceted toolkit from the heart of the midfield.

And following a recent report from The Athletic, it is clear that the Magpies still maintain a vested interest in the player, who has been shortlisted as Howe continues to mull over the best strategy to continue the club’s meteoric rise since a Saudi-led consortium completed the £300m takeover in October 2021.

With Bruno Guimaraes currently occupying the holding midfield position for the Magpies – considered more of a pivot – and Jonjo Shelvey’s incessant injury troubles restricting him to just three substitute showings in the league all season, technical director Dan Ashworth would be prudent to sign a fresh anchor to protect the defence and initiate forward advances from deep is paramount for Newcastle’s efforts across the second stage of the season.

Kante 2.0

Kone, just 21 years old, has earned his name on the team sheet for Gladbach, starting 14 of the 15 league outings this term and impressing with the tenacity of his all-encompassing performances.

As per Sofascore, the French starlet – hailed as the “complete package” by talent scout Jacek Kulig – has recorded a rating of 6.85, completing 87% of his total passes and chipping in with 2.1 tackles per match, also winning 54% of his total duels.

He does have a tendency to lunge in and attach himself to a booking, with his five yellow cards across the first 11 German Bundesliga outings this term resulting in a one-match ban, but with experience comes maturity, and he will continue to nurture every aspect of his game over the coming years.

And as per FBref, he remarkably ranks within the top 1% of midfielders for dribbles completed, averaging 2.17 per 90 – indicating the kind of forward-thinking presence from the heart of the midfield that will serve Howe’s offensive philosophy well as he looks to pump further vitality into his team.

Should he sign for Newcastle, then based on the evidence above he could be the Premier League’s next N’Golo Kante.

He has won league titles with both Leicester City and Chelsea, earning the Player of the Season award with the Blues due to his tough-tackling nature and dynamic skills in control of the ball.

Having made 222 appearances in the English top flight, Kante has made an incredible 676 tackles at a 62% success rate, and 504 interceptions, illustrating the supreme recycling aura he brings to the pitch.

Kone, who equally possesses an innate defensive aptitude and a tendency to seek promising forward plays, would be a fine addition to St. James’ Park, which would welcome the robust tenacity of his game, bringing “an extra man” to the fold.

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