Newcastle United have once again had a subpar transfer window. After being linked with Daniel Sturridge, Rafa Benitez could only watch as West Brom signed the Liverpool striker on loan for the rest of the season. With Feyenoord standing firm on their valuation of Nicolai Jorgensen, it’s unlikely we’ll see a move for the Dane.
The Magpies need reinforcements in almost every area of the pitch. While signing someone who can provide more creativity and in the end goals is important, someone who can add more defensive solidity is also the need of the hour.
Benitez’s side have been linked with a move for Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala. The Frenchman has had another difficult season at the Etihad. City have reportedly signed Aymeric Laporte for a club record fee of 57 million pounds, which means the competition for places is only going to get tougher.
Mangala – stats
The 26-year old has started just four games in the Premier League this season. The remaining five have come as substitute appearances. His stats are impressive, though.
He has recorded 2.7 clearances per game and has a passing accuracy of 91.6%. (Stats via Whoscored)
Is Mangala a good option?
This is a tough one. When he rose to prominence at Porto under Andre Villas-Boas, Mangala seemed like a complete defender. But a move to the Premier League sort of exposed his flaws. He can’t be blamed for everything, though. Mangala moved when he was pretty young for a centre-back (22).
Manchester City were expected to fight for the title and Mangala was expected to hit the ground running owing to his massive price tag of £31.8m. In the fast-paced Premier League scenario, the Frenchman often flattered to deceive and committed high-profile mistakes which cost him his place in the starting lineup.
A loan move to Valencia did restore a bit of confidence, but Guardiola’s preference of using Otamendi and Stones, defenders who have more composure on the ball and are known for their distribution, meant that Mangala was never going to be a first choice defender.
Mangala’s strengths are undoubtedly his physique and aerial prowess. Having played under Guardiola for a bit, his reading of the game has improved.
Still only 26, Mangala is yet to hit his peak years as a defender, so perhaps a loan move could help him resurrect his career. He’s smart enough to know that if he plays an important role in Newcastle’s survival, he’ll be a wanted player in the summer, so the move could benefit both the Magpies and the player.