Newcastle must swoop for “technical” £31.5m-rated gem, it won’t cost Ashley a penny – opinion

Newcastle must swoop for “technical” £31.5m-rated gem, it won’t cost Ashley a penny – opinion

Steve Bruce should push Newcastle United to sign Hakan Calhanoglu in the summer transfer window amid doubt in the AC Milan playmaker’s long-term future at the San Siro.

What’s the word?

According to Chronicle Live, Toon scouts are keeping a close eye on Calhanoglu’s situation with the Turkey international currently set to be a free agent at the end of the season.

The Magpies are expected to monitor the free-agent market closely over the coming months with funds due to be tight and likely having to sign unattached players or fringe options on loan.

Talks are expected to occur between Calhanoglu’s agent, Gordon Stipic, and the Milan hierarchy in the coming weeks regarding his future. The Rossoneri are still optimistic that a deal can be secured, though considerable distance remains between the two parties, per Calciomercato.

Calhanoglu is said to be asking for a €5.5m-a-season (£91.5k-per-week) contract to remain at the San Siro, where Milan’s best offer to date sits at €4m-a-year (£66.5k-per-week). The 27-year-old would accept lesser terms but has set the benchmark at no less than €5m (£83k-per-week).

Milan are continuing with discussions to retain the 52-cap international as Calhanoglu is considered to be a fundamental aspect of manager Stefano Pioli’s plans, having made a step up in his performances to offer an unpredictable nature that other options cannot deliver.

Should Newcastle sign Calhanoglu?

If Calhanoglu does leave Milan as a free agent at the end of the season, Bruce must position Newcastle strongly to contend for his services against what will likely be a wealth of options.

Calhanoglu has the potential to take the Magpies to another level alongside Allan Saint-Maximin, Miguel Almiron and Callum Wilson, with the £31.5m-rated star a highly influential figure with 11 assists and six goals in 27 games across all competitions this season.

No Serie A player has created as many goals as Calhanoglu (8) so far in 2020/21, while also leading the Italian top-flight with 67 key passes – 13 more than second-placed Rodrigo de Paul (54), per SofaScore.

Those numbers would see the former Bayer Leverkusen ace rank third among all Premier League players for key passes – behind only Jack Grealish (76) and Bruno Fernandes (71) – and joint-first with Harry Kane for assists (11). Almiron (22) has created the most goalscoring chances for Newcastle, while Wilson (5) has registered the most assists at St. James’ Park.

But Sport Bild journalist Christian Falk believes Manchester United may be the one on pole for his signature, having held talks with Stipic last summer over a potential move to Old Trafford.

“It’s true and I think this will happen because last summer there was already talks with his agent,” he told the Stretford Paddock podcast in November.

“I don’t know if you know, but Juventus would have also have liked him last summer, but he said ‘no’. He said no because he already knew what would happen this summer with United.

“Talks are already very, very far at the moment, and he’ll be a free agent, so this transfer is very, very likely. He’s a technical player, perhaps it is [Paul] Pogba to show him the way.”

So, competition could be tough, and a transfer may make Calhanoglu Newcastle’s best-paid player – eclipsing Joelinton’s £86.5k-per-week deal – but Bruce should be pushing to strike a deal.

AND in other news, Newcastle are facing a dilemma over the future of a £40k-p/w ace set to be the subject of a tempting offer