Newcastle: Howe could ditch Maddison plans for Dominik Szoboszlai

The Hungarian wizard is a devastating playmaker…

Newcastle United’s comprehensive 4-1 rout over Brighton & Hove Albion at St James’ Park on Thursday night reaffirmed to the Premier League the Tyneside squad’s Champions League credentials after ceding territory in successive games amid the fight for top four.

Defeat against Arsenal preceded a battling away draw against relegation-threatened Leeds United had provided fifth-placed Liverpool – who were on a seven-match winning streak in the top-flight before this weekend – with a chance of leapfrogging the Magpies and Manchester United into Champions League contention.

While Liverpool’s hopes are now pretty distant, Newcastle’s victory over Albion means that a point against imperilled Leicester City on home turf on Monday night would confirm a return to Champions League nights after a two-decade absence.

With that coveted goal now within touching distance, focus is understandably shifting to the forthcoming summer transfer window, and RB Leipzig’s Dominik Szoboszlai has been identified as an optimum name to bolster the ranks.

Manager Eddie Howe is in the market for a new midfielder, and the Hungarian ace, who Caught Offside is stating is open to departure from the Bundesliga this year, could be the perfect signing for the ambitious Toon.

Should Newcastle sign Dominik Szoboszlai?
Szoboszlai has a €70m (£61m​)​​​​​​ release clause in his contract, and while this is by no means a paltry fee, the affluence of Newcastle since the £300m PIF takeover in 2021 ensures that the club can compete financially against the cream of the crop on the European stage.

This season, the 22-year-old has scored nine goals and provided 13 assists from 43 matches for Marco Rose’s outfit, and would bring a cutting edge to a thriving outfit searching for a top talent to transcend fortunes into something greater, laden with silver.

The 30-cap Hungary captain, who has been hailed as a “complete player” by journalist Bence Bocsak, registered 19 direct contributions last term and is displaying an exciting level of growth and continuation as he progresses, nurturing his innate skills into something refined and effective.

As per FBref, he ranks among the top 16% of attacking midfielders and wingers across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for assists, the top 8% for shot-creating actions, the top 6% for passes attempted and the top 13% for progressive passes per 90, while he is likened to first-rate aces such as Bruno Fernandes and Federico Valverde.

Should Howe and co succeed in their pursuit of the £71k-per-week star, they could ditch their plans to sign Leicester’s James Maddison, who is facing the prospect of top-flight relegation this summer.

Maddison was of a vested interest to Newcastle last summer, with the Magpies failing in their £50m bid for the mercurial maestro, the Foxes demanding £60m – a valuation that remains, the Foxes recruitment team unperturbed by the implications of relegation.

The 26-year-old has been in fine form on an individual basis despite his side’s woes, ranking among the top 15% of positional confrères for rate of non-penalty goals, the top 8% for rate of assists, the top 10% for shot-creating actions and the top 15% for progressive passes per 90.

Impressive metrics, but with similar valuations, Howe might just be inclined to take a punt on this burgeoning Hungarian; Szoboszlai is a prodigious talent and could shape St James’ Park’s fortunes for years to come.