Sky Sports reporter Keith Downie reported on Tuesday, via his verified Twitter account, that the Magpies had been in talks over signing Strasbourg holding midfielder Ibrahima Sissoko for around £10.5million, which implies they’re very eager to get the 22-year-old’s services, as they haven’t messed about making contact about him.
While Downie pointed out a deal or any sort of agreement for Sissoko hadn’t been agreed yet or anything like that, Steve Bruce must be very eager for a new midfielder enforcer to arrive for the club to act early, and that’s very telling.
With Newcastle only managing six goals in their first 10 league outings, you would think Bruce would want a striker signed first and foremost, this is especially the case when you consider he has a lot of midfield options already.
So if he wants a new a midfield enforcer, it suggests a lack of faith in his current options.
Bruce arguably has Matty Longstaff, Sean Longstaff, Isaac Hayden, Ki Sung-yeung and Jonjo Shelvey as options to play as a central midfielder and at least a couple of those are capable of playing as a holding midfielder.
One of the most obvious candidates to play as a holding midfielder is Ki and if Bruce is rushing to get a new option in, it surely means the writing is on the wall for the 30-year-old.
After all, he is struggling for minutes as it is.
The midfielder has only averaged 0.3 tackles per match across his three outings and yet has still managed to average 0.3 fouls per game which is rather damning about his tackling ability. (Source: WhoScored)
Ki has also on average been dispossessed 0.7 times per match and even averaged 0.3 poor touches per game, which shows how he is a potential weak point if played as the Magpies don’t want someone who is going to carelessly give away possession. (Source: WhoScored)
It’s not just his stats that imply he could be the reason why Bruce wants to sign a new midfield enforcer, the Magpies boss publicly revealed he was “extremely disappointed” about the player’s display against Leicester City, as per the Nothern Echo, and if a manager comes out and negatively speaks about one of their players, alarm bells should ring.
Also when you consider Ki’s contract is set to expire at the end of the season, then everything is starting to suggest the end of his Magpies career isn’t that far off.