Newcastle United trying to buy Mario Lemina – Report
It is reported on Thursday afternoon that Newcastle United are trying to bring in Southampton’s Mario Lemina.
Set to turn 28 in September, the box to box midfielder is unwanted by the Saints and has just the one year left on his five year contract, so they are keen to sell and get something back for him. With The Mail saying that Newcastle are leading the chase for the Gabon international.
Southampton paid £15m for Mario Lemina back in 2017 from Juventus and started 38 Premier League matches over the course of his first two years at the south coast club, however, never really became an automatic first choice for them.
Lemina spent 2019/20 at Galatasaray on loan (19 league starts), then with Fulham for 2020/21, it was 19 Premier League starts and 11 times named on the bench as the Cottagers were relegated.
Newcastle United have been looking for a box to box midfielder for some time and as well as that favoured position in the middle of the pitch, Mario Lemina can also play on the right as a winger, a full back, or as a wing back, whilst he has also played as one of three centre backs in a three / five man defence.
With Mike Ashley seemingly set to make only very limited funds available, this is the kind of bargain basement signing you could see happening, a versatile player who can also fill in at various positions but mainly who could hopefully give Newcastle more mobility and drive in the middle of the pitch. A bit of a worry that he could only get 19 PL starts for a Fulham side who were relegated long before the end of the season.
Also, not a player who is going to create or score a lot of goals, as in his entire first team club career, Mario Lemina has only managed eight goals in the league and three assists.
Another concern is that at Marseille, Lemina only started 25 Ligue 1 games in two years, before making only 15 Serie A starts for Juventus in two years, so only the 40 league starts in the four years immediately before joining Southampton.
The Mail also report that Newcastle United are still interested in a loan move for William Saliba, the Arsenal 20 year old centre-back, who NUFC have been regularly linked with since the 2020/21 season ended.
Arsenal paid £25m for an 18 year old William Saliba from Saint Etienne after he had made only 19 first team appearances for the French club, the Gunners fighting off other Premier League clubs for the signature.
Saliba instantly loaned back to Saint Etienne for the 2019/20 season, then it was off to Nice for the second half of last (2020/21) season on loan. Arsenal keen on the young centre-back to get first team football and the player making 36 more first team appearances in these two loan spells.
Now moving into the third season of his five year contract you would imagine Arsenal will want to see the young defender now get Premier League experience and it has been reported that Newcastle have been scouting William Saliba during his loan spells in France over the course of these last two seasons.
Arsenal will be well happy with Newcastle United after they more than doubled Joe Willock’s value despite Steve Bruce giving him only 11 Premier League starts, so fair to say that Gunners could see St James Park as a decent possibility for Saliba’s next stage of development.
For some time now it has been reported that Newcastle want to add some youth and pace into the mix of their centre-backs, so no surprise if this summer this at last happens, plenty of decent centre-back options as things stand at Newcastle but to an extent all very similar with plenty of ‘experience’ but little pace.
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