Newcastle United are reportedly set to rekindle their interest in Bayer Leverkusen defender Mitchel Bakker, having missed out on a deal for him in January.
What’s the word?
According to German outlet BILD, the Magpies are hoping to pursue a deal for the Dutchman again this summer, with the club willing to make a €20m (£17m) offer to secure his services.
The Tyneside outfit had come close to striking a deal in the winter, with the Netherlands under-21 international potentially available for £16m, before negotiations ultimately collapsed late in the month as the club eventually brought in Matt Targett.
The on-loan Aston Villa man could well be signed permanently at the end of the season, although his future may rest on whether a deal for Bakker can be reignited.
He’d be a huge signing
Should the 21-year-old arrive in the northeast this summer, it would no doubt be a major coup for the new owners at St James’ Park, with PIF seeking to recruit top-quality talent despite the lack of European football on offer.
That may prove a sticking point in any deal for the former Paris Saint-Germain starlet, with Leverkusen having secured a Champions League berth. However, if they can get their man, he would offer a huge amount of potential to Eddie Howe at Newcastle.
Should Newcastle sign Bakker?
Absolute steal, yes!
Previously dubbed a “big influence” by Leverkusen coach Gerardo Seoane, the £12.6m-rated left-back has enjoyed an impressive Bundesliga campaign so far, recording one goal and four assists while also averaging 1.6 clearances, 1.3 tackles and 0.9 interception per 90 in his 25 league outings.
He ranks in the top 9% for interceptions made among full-backs in Europe’s top five leagues, while he has also caught the eye in an attacking sense, ranking in the top 18% for dribbles completed and in the top 14% for pass completion.
Hailed as a “terrific” player by journalist Dan O’Hagan, Bakker also impressed in the Europa League this season, averaging 1.8 tackles and 1.3 dribbles per game, showcasing his ability to make an impact at both ends of the pitch.
The 6 foot 1 youngster would also represent a long-term fit for Eddie Howe and co, while his reported £17m fee could come to be seen as something of a bargain in the years to come, if Newcastle are to sign him for that amount.