There is no hiding from the fact that Steve Bruce has a rebuilding job on his hands at Newcastle United this summer.
The new Magpies boss has inherited a squad that has a top scorer from last season who only scored four goals in Fabian Schar after the questionable decision to sanction the departures of Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez – a pair that scored more than 50% of the club’s goals.
With the gaping hole upfront, it would be easy to miss other areas that need strengthening in the squad – such as their wing-backs and possibly midfield.
FootballGhana have reported that Newcastle are tracking newly released central midfielder Afriyie Acquah, and Bruce would be wasting his time in tracking the 27-year-old, despite the news outlet claiming he was a top priority of Rafael Benitez before his departure.
Acquah spent last season at Empoli and has failed to cement a place at a club for more than two years since he left Parma in 2015, something which surely proves he is too inconsistent for the Premier League.
When you compare the midfielder to the Magpies’ current rotation options in Jonjo Shelvey and Ki Sung-yueng via WhoScored, it is clear to see Bruce does not need to make a move for Acquah as he already has better options.
Acquah holds a lower WhoScored average match rating, and despite being the more defensive one of the trio, he doesn’t compare very well. Shelvey averages both more tackles and blocks for his side, whereas Ki makes more interceptions and clearances, as well as making fewer fouls.
Newcastle tried to adopt a possession-based style with a five-at-the-back formation last season, and the former Empoli man doesn’t compare either when assessing his stats on the ball.
The England international blows both of his potential competitors out of the water once in possession, averaging more passes as well as key passes, on top of a higher average of crosses and long balls attempted.
It is Ki that has the best passing success, with Acquah’s biggest accomplishment in this comparison being the fact he finishes second in that category. Having said that, the Ghanaian does average considerably fewer passes per outing.
There is no doubt that Newcastle are wasting their time in the pursuit of Acquah and Bruce should pull the plug on this pursuit immediately before finding out the hard way, that he isn’t needed.