An update has emerged regarding Newcastle’s interest in Bournemouth’s holding midfielder Jefferson Lerma.
What’s the talk?
According to 90min, the Magpies want to strengthen their central midfield options in the January transfer window in a bid to stave off relegation.
The report claims that the Colombia international is a player Eddie Howe is now targeting, having signed him during his time with the Cherries.
Win the fans over
Newcastle boss Howe could win over the fans at St James’ Park, if he hasn’t already when January comes around, by axing Isaac Hayden from the team in order to sign Lerma from Bournemouth.
The £41k-per-week Hayden has averaged a SofaScore rating of 6.64 in the Premier League this season and won 51% of his duels overall. He has been dribbled past 1.4 times per game, highlighting a key issue with the former Arsenal man as he allows players to beat him far too easily in matches.
Lerma did not have this problem in his most recent season in the Premier League under Howe – in the 2019/20 campaign, he was dribbled past 0.8 times per game. He also averaged a rating of 6.82 as he won 55% of his duels and made 3.3 tackles and interceptions per game.
Former Cherries boss Jonathan Woodgate was effusive in his praise of the midfield destroyer, previously saying: “I don’t judge Jeff on goals. You know how I feel about Jeff. I’m his biggest fan. I think he’s unbelievable. If I can describe a six to anyone, he’s my favourite. He’s a six and he’s magnificent.
“He gives you absolutely everything every single game. Heads it, runs, tackles, passes. He’s a special player for me.
“He’s vital. You see what happened against Southampton (without him). Put Jeff in that team, it’s a different team.”
The 27-year-old has also displayed the attacking side to his game, creating 0.9 chances per match in the Championship this term, having managed 0.8 last season. Hayden, on the other hand, has created just 0.2 per game in the current campaign after managing 0.3 in the 2020/21 season, suggesting that Lerma could be an upgrade on him at both ends of the pitch.
Therefore, Howe could win the fans over by signing Lerma and improving the midfield by adding a combative, quality option to run the middle of the park alongside the likes of Joe Willock, Sean Longstaff and Miguel Almiron from January onwards.