Transfer Opinion: Newcastle must go all in for £36m-rated ideal Shelvey partner

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A queue of Premier League clubs are reportedly lining up to sign Marseille central midfielder Morgan Sanson, including Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United and Newcastle United. The 25-year-old was enjoying an impressive campaign before the Ligue 1 season was curtailed prematurely, with Andre Villas-Boas’ side finishing second place, 12 points behind Paris Saint-Germain.

Sanson featured in all but one of Marseille’s Ligue 1 matches, making 27 appearances in the heart of the midfield. Furthermore, he stood out in the engine room, as only striker Dario Benedetto, 11, and Dimitri Payet, nine, scored more goals than the 25-year-old’s five.

Sanson could have been on course for one of his most productive seasons in front of goal with ten matches left to play before the season came to an abrupt end, his previous best came in 2017/18 when the Frenchman fired in nine Ligue 1 strikes.

Additionally, no other Marseille’s player provided more assists than the central midfielder, who played teammates through to score on four occasions last term. With his five goals and four assists, Sanson was directly involved in 21.9 per cent of the second-placed French sides’ 41 Ligue 1 strikes, an astonishing total for a central midfielder.

Newcastle United are crying out for central midfield reinforcements with Matty Longstaff leaving after his contract expired and Nabil Bentaleb returning to Schalke after his loan spell ended. Sanson would be an ideal candidate to sit alongside Jonjo Shelvey in the centre of the park for the Magpies next term, as he would ease the burden on Newcastle’s top scorer to find the net while also providing excellent defensive cover.

Last term, the 25-year-old made an average of 2.2 tackles per match, along with 2.2 interceptions. No Newcastle player made more tackles per game than Bentaleb’s 1.9 per 90 minutes, highlighting how his influence in the midfield will be missed, but Sanson showed last term he could capably fill that void while adding more creatively.

Only Shelvey played more key passes per game, 1.7, than Sanson’s 1.1, of any Newcastle central midfielder, suggesting the duo could be a wonderful playmaking midfield pivot together.

Overall, Sanson’s performances last term proved that he could offer Newcastle not only defensive stability but creativity as well in midfield. The magpies must go all-in for the target, who is valued at £36m by Marseille, though has just one year remaining on his contract, and fend off competition from Premier League rivals.

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