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Newcastle could find Skriniar alternative

Newcastle United are currently closing in on the signing of Everton starlet, Anthony Gordon with deadline day looming, although that late move for the Englishman may not be the end of the Magpies’ winter spending, with reports in France suggesting that Lille’s Tiago Djalo could also be a possible target this month.

According to Foot Mercato, the Tynesiders are interested in signing the 22-year-old before the end of the window, with the centre-back currently facing an uncertain future with the Ligue 1 side with just 18 months left on his current deal.

The report suggests that sporting director Dan Ashworth is ‘ready to offer’ a fee of more than €20m (£18m) in order to prise the Portuguese starlet from Stade Pierre-Mauroy, having previously signed Sven Botman from the French outfit during the summer.

The versatile ace – who can also feature at left-back – has been at his current side since joining from AC Milan back in 2019, having also previously been on the books at Sporting Lisbon – albeit without making a first-team appearance for either of his former employers.

As talent scout Jacek Kulig predicted, those two clubs have likely been left to “regret” their decision to move the 6 foot 3 titan on in the past, with the “dominant” defender – as per Kulig – currently shining at Lille.

The current campaign has proven particularly impressive for the Portugal U21 international, as he has netted twice in 18 league games, while also showcasing his defensive prowess after averaging 2.4 clearances and 1.5 tackles per game in that time.

The youngster’s quality is also laid bare by his statistical and stylistic similarities to Inter Milan colossus, Milan Skriniar, as per FBref, with that of interest to those at St James’ Park as the latter man has seemingly been a target for Ashworth and co in recent times.

As 90min revealed earlier this month, the northeast side were named as one of a handful of clubs who were ‘expected’ to make an offer for the Slovakia international, while reports in Italy suggested back in December that he was a firm target for the top-four hopefuls.

With the 27-year-old now seemingly on his way to Paris Saint-Germain, however, Eddie Howe will have to look elsewhere for a suitable centre-back alternative, hence turning Djalo as an ideal fit to bolster the backline.

That likeness between the pair is illustrated by the fact that they both provide real quality in possession, with Djalo notably ranking in the top 9% among those in his position for pass completion, while Skriniar ranks in the top 7% in that same metric.

Such quality on the ball is also showcased by the fact that the Inter machine averages 0.43 progressive passes received per game to illustrate his ability to spark attacks from deep, while the younger man is only slightly behind as he averages 0.30 in that regard.

Skriniar – who also stands at 6 foot 3 – has also enjoyed a similar record in the league this season to that of Djalo, as he has averaged 2.2 clearances and 1.5 tackles per game from his 19 Serie A appearances, proving that the two men are firmly alike both in possession, but also due to their ball-winning ability.

That should indicate that Newcastle can find an ideal alternative for the PSG-bound sensation in the form of Djalo.

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