Newcastle United Set To Rival Aston Villa For Ex-Burnley Playmaker: What Will He Add To Bruce’s Team?

Newcastle United on the verge of signing Jeff Hendrick who is seen in the photo
Jeff Hendrick of Burnley arrives at the stadium prior to the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Tottenham Hotspur at Turf Moor on March 07, 2020 in Burnley, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

According to The Chronicle’s Lee Ryder, Newcastle United are set to rival Aston Villa in pursuit of ex-Burnley playmaker Jeff Hendrick this summer. The same source has also revealed that the representatives of the Republic of Ireland midfielder have offered him to the Magpies and the Villans after he was released by the Clarets last month.

Hendrick’s Solid Form At Turf Moor Last Season

The Dublin-born talent experienced a solid season at Burnley as he produced a few memorable displays as a key component of Sean Dyche’s midfield. He made 27 appearances for the Lancashire outfit last season, registering three goals and two assists across all fronts, which sheds light on his importance in the opposition half.

Hendrick did well to contribute at both ends of the field after he averaged 0.8 tackles, 0.8 interceptions, 0.6 clearances, 0.9 shots, 0.6 key passes and 0.9 dribbles per game in the Premier League last season. However, he needs to take care of the ball better based on his pass completion rate of 75.6% in league football (stats via whoscored).

The 28-year-old is also vastly experienced at the international stage, having earned 54 senior caps for the Republic of Ireland national team while scoring two goals for his country in the process. The versatile midfielder needs to find a new club this summer, so a switch to St. James’ Park could give him a chance to discover some consistency for both his club and country in the coming years.

Newcastle United set to rival Aston Villa for Hendrick who is in action in the picture
Jamaal Lascelles of Newcastle United vies with Jeff Hendrick of Burnley during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Burnley FC at St. James Park on February 29, 2020, in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

What Will The Irish Midfield Ace Add To Steve Bruce’s Side?

Hendrick can use his quickness to make some driving runs with the ball towards the opposition penalty box. He is a hard-working midfielder who is quite aggressive in the way he operates in midfield. The Republic of Ireland international has shown over the past couple of years that he can be a decent squad player in the Premier League. However, he needs to improve his productivity in the final third if he wants to take his game to the next level.

Hendrick could prove to be a shrewd signing for the Magpies as he has what it takes to keep the likes of Jonjo Shelvey, Sean Longstaff, Matty Longstaff and Isaac Hayden on their toes at St. James’ Park next season. He will not only bolster the quality of the Newcastle first-team, but also add more variety and depth to their squad.

The Irish workhorse is primarily a box to box midfielder, but can also fill in as a holding midfielder or operate in a slightly advanced role as an attacking player. Hendrick’s versatility, coupled with his vast experience of playing in England, makes him a good target for the Tyneside giants to consider before the start of the new campaign.

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.