Southampton have told Newcastle United that a deal for Mohammed Salisu is not possible, according to The Daily Telegraph’s Luke Edwards.
What’s the latest Newcastle United transfer news?
With a week to go in the January transfer window, Newcastle need to bring in defenders.
While Saturday’s win away at Leeds United was undoubtedly promising, the defensive frailty in the team could still cost PIF millions should the team suffer relegation this season. Without improvements at the back, it’s hard to see a way in which Eddie Howe is able to avoid that from happening.
The club are thought to value the idea of Premier League experience, evident in the signings of Chris Wood and Kieran Trippier, which Salisu clearly has. Still, with Southampton freshly taken over, a deal in this window at least looks unlikely.
Would Salisu be a good signing for Newcastle?
On the evidence of this season, yes.
FBREF data notes the Ghanaian ranks within Europe’s top 74% (at least) of central defenders playing across the big five leagues over the past year for clearances, pressures, tackles, interceptions, blocks and aerial duels won per game. That, frankly, speaks of a player already performing at a level Newcastle’s current crop of defenders can only dream of.
At 22, he would appear to be a long-term investment too, although it’s easy to see why Southampton would want to keep a hold of him. Having sold Virgil van Dijk in 2018 for a then world-record £75m, it’s certainly not out of the realms of possibility that they could do something similar again, should Salisu remain on his upward trajectory.
Such has been the level of his form, it wouldn’t be surprising to see clubs currently at the top of the game register an interest too, potentially complicating matters even further.
What has been said about Salisu?
Speaking after the Saints’ impressive draw at home to Manchester City on Saturday evening, Ralph Hasenhuttl poured praise on the defender.
“He had a tough season with not being fit but we always told him to take his time. He didn’t train with the team for half a year after coming here, this is tough for a player in a new situation, but you get through it,” he said (via Sports World Ghana).
“We always spoke to him about the long-term project we have with him. We gave him to time to be fit for our game and we gave him the time to adapt to our game. Now you are seeing how strong he is and how well developed we have him.”