Newcastle United Face Competition From Arsenal For This Talented Midfielder: Right Fit For Bruce?

Newcastle United face competition from Arsenal for Barrios who is in action in the photo
Benfica's Portuguese midfielder Chiquinho Machado (L) vies with Zenit's Colombian midfielder Wilmar Barrios (R) during the UEFA Champions League group G football match between SL Benfica and FC Zenit at Luz stadium in Lisbon on December 10, 2019. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images)

According to a recent report by Jeunex Footeaux, Newcastle United are facing competition from Arsenal in pursuit of Zenit St. Petersburg midfielder Wilmar Barrios this summer. The same source has also revealed that the Magpies have tabled a €17m offer for the Colombian talent, who has a €30m release clause in his contract at the Gazprom Arena.

Barrios’ Incredible Form At Petersburg

Barrios enjoyed an outstanding season in the Russian Premier Liga after producing a series of commanding performances at the heart of Sergei Semak’s midfield. He made 35 appearances for the Russian giants in the previous campaign, scoring one goal in the process across all fronts.

The 26-year-old has performed at a high level in Europe as evident from his average 3.3 tackles, 3.8 interceptions and 1.0 dribbles per game in the UEFA Champions League. Barrios has also been quite tidy with his ball-distribution as he completed 85.8% of his attempted passes in European football last season (stats via whoscored).

The Zenit star has secured 28 senior caps for the Colombian national team but is yet to open his goal-scoring account for his homeland. Maybe a summer switch to the Premier League could give him the platform to showcase his skills and take his game to the next level for both his club and country in the years to come.

Newcastle United face competition from Arsenal for Barrios who is seen in the picture.
Wilmar Barrios of FC Zenit Saint Petersburg celebrates his goal during the Russian Premier League match between FC Zenit Saint Petersburg and FC Rostov Rostov-on-Don on October 19, 2019, in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (Photo by Epsilon/Getty Images)

What Will The Colombian International Bring To The Table?

Barrios is proficient at making well-timed tackles in midfield so that he can earn possession back for his side. He is often quick to sense the danger and can position himself ideally to nip the threat in the bud. The South American sensation is a real bundle of energy in midfield and can pull off some driving runs with the ball in the opposition half. Standing at 1.78m tall, he is a strong presence both on and off the ball, but can sometimes be too aggressive with his tackles which explains why he picked up 13 yellow cards for Zenit last season.

Is Barrios The Right Fit For Newcastle?

A tough-tackling defensive midfielder like Barrios will be a welcome addition to Steve Bruce’s squad as he needs to add more bite and steel to his midfield department ahead of the new campaign. The Colombian will not only bring more stability and variety to St. James’ Park but also improve the overall quality of Newcastle’s match-day squad.

At 26, Barrios is currently playing at his prime which the Magpies could look to capitalise on in the coming seasons. Plus, he will offer some serious competition for the likes of Jonjo Shelvey, Matty Longstaff, Sean Longstaff and Isaac Hayden in the race to claim a regular starting spot in Bruce’s first XI. Barrios ticks all the right boxes in terms of what the Newcastle boss demands from his midfielders and so he will be a perfect fit for the Magpies.

A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.