Newcastle United are surely in a crisis right now, having picked up just five points in six matches. Their recent draw with Brighton & Hove Albion highlighted their problems, especially in midfield, where Jonjo Shelvey was all over the place.
Shelvey’s struggles mean Newcastle lack the services of a proper creative midfielder. And with the ex-Liverpool seemingly failing to live up to the expectations, the Magpies should really sign a new midfielder in January. In this article, we will discuss why Schalke’s Nabil Bentaleb could be an exciting addition to the squad.
Nabil Bentaleb’s spell at Schalke
Bentaleb initially joined Schalke in 2016, in a season-long deal from Tottenham Hotspur. He enjoyed a promising debut campaign in the Bundesliga. As a result, his deal was made permanent by the Royal Blues the following summer, for a fee of €19 million.
However, the Algerian international has struggled a lot since. Injuries and lack of game-time marred his second season at Schalke. He was often overlooked by new head coach Domenico Tedesco, though he did enjoy a more prominent role the following campaign.
Indeed, Bentaleb made 25 league appearances last season. But, Schalke endured a terrible campaign that saw them flirt with relegation, at times. The midfielder was also a subject of poor attitude that got him demoted to the reserve side. He is yet to make a single appearance so far this season.
What can he bring to the table?
As mentioned earlier, Newcastle need a creative midfielder. And that’s exactly what Bentaleb can provide to the table. A product of the Tottenham youth academy, the 24-year-old is an attack-minded midfielder, who loves to get forward and help out his team in the final third.
He is mainly known for his dynamism, though he generally likes to augment the midfield with his passes. Bentaleb is also an aggressive operator in the middle of the park and is quite competent as well. Besides, he has the exposure of playing in the Premier League during his time with Spurs.
Why can Nabil Bentaleb be an ideal fit for Newcastle?
Bentaleb’s aggressive style of play could tune in well with Steve Bruce’s tactical setup at Newcastle. He could be an excellent alternative for Shelvey, who has become more of a liability at the club. He can be utilised as a number ten in case the team is lining up in a 4-2-3-1 or even as an alternative for Miguel Almiron, who has struggled a lot this season.
The fact that Bentaleb is losing his importance at Schalke could allow Newcastle to sign him for a cut-price. And at the age of 24, he could be a smart long-term investment for the Magpies.
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