With Premier League survival assured and a squad which Steve Bruce hasn’t “got the ability to rotate”, the Magpies manager is searching for “four or five players” who could arrive during the summer transfer window. One name which has emerged is Marseille defender Bouna Sarr, who can also operate as a right midfielder.
Bruce is reportedly reluctant to trigger Valentino Lazaro’s £20m release clause, and it has been suggested Sarr would be available for €15m. The on-loan Inter Milan winger has struggled to force his way into the Newcastle squad, starting just three Premier League matches since arriving in January. Understandably, it seems the Magpies boss does not want to spend big on making his stay at St James’ Park permanent.
Meanwhile, Sarr is in his fifth season at the Orange Velodrome and has racked up 179 appearances for the Andre Villas-Boas’ side. Much like Lazaro, the 28-year-old is comfortable operating as a right back or further forward, starting 12 and 10 matches respectively in each position this term.
Furthermore, Sarr has contributed three assists in Ligue 1 this season, meaning he would likely provide a more significant creative influence than the Austrian has during his loan spell at St James’ Park, where he has failed to set up a goal.
Not only could the 28-year-old Frenchman possibly create more opportunities for attackers, but his performances in Ligue 1 suggest he will also be more effective at keeping out the opposition, averaging 2.2 tackles per match. While in the Premier League Lazaro has only been able to record 0.8 tackles per game, along with a minuscule 0.2 interceptions, one per match fewer than Sarr.
Comparing the two right wing back’s defensive contributions this term suggest that Sarr is a much more capable ball winner, while he also clears the ball from danger on 1.3 occasion’s per match to Lazaro’s 0.3.
Newcastle’s French transfer target may be four years older than the Magpies’ current loanee, but given his reportedly lower asking price, along with his superior defensive capabilities, Bruce must tempt Sarr to Tyneside. Sevilla are allegedly leading the race for the Marseille defender; nevertheless, the Toon must do their utmost to lure the 28-year-old to St James’ Park.