Newcastle: Roger Ibanez could be a dream Lascelles heir

The Magpies are in the market to improve the depth of their squad this summer…

Newcastle United can secure their place in next season’s Champions League by avoiding defeat against Leicester City in the Premier League on Monday night.

When asked about how he will manage to compete in multiple competitions in 2023/24, Toon boss Eddie Howe told The Athletic:

“I think if you have a strong squad, rotation is going to be important. Utilising the whole squad is going to be important.

“We have rotated to a degree but maybe not in the numbers that we might need to next year. So if you’re going to do that, then the squad needs to be strong enough. So if you put out two XIs, they’re of equal strength.”

This suggests that the manager will be looking to improve the depth of his squad in the upcoming summer transfer window and one position in which he could look to strengthen is centre-back.

Jamaal Lascelles is currently the backup option to Fabian Schar and Sven Botman and the Magpies skipper has struggled to step up when called upon – averaging a Sofascore rating of 6.53 across seven appearances in the top-flight, which places him 22nd out of the club’s 23 players used this term.

Who could replace Jamaal Lascelles for Newcastle?
Howe could land a dream heir to the former Nottingham Forest defender’s position in the squad by securing a swoop to sign Roma central defender Roger Ibanez this summer.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Newcastle are one of the clubs in the race to land the Serie A enforcer’s signature ahead of the 2023/24 campaign, with his club valuing him at around €30m (£26m).

The 24-year-old titan has enjoyed a strong season in Italy and has proven himself to be a reliable performer at the heart of the defence in a major European league.

Ibanez has averaged a Sofascore rating of 7.02 across 31 appearances in the Italian top-flight and this is a score that would place him eighth in the Magpies squad in the Premier League.

The Brazilian battler has made 4.2 tackles and interceptions per game and won 63% of his duels – including 70% of his aerial contests.

Lascelles, meanwhile, has made 0.1 tackles and interceptions per match and lost 53% of his battles – after making 1.4 defensive interventions per outing in 2021/22 – and this shows that the Serie A gem has been stronger in his physical contests and has won the ball back more frequently for his side.

These statistics also indicate that the Roma star, who journalist Josh Bunting once hailed as “outstanding”, would be a significant upgrade on the current Newcastle defender, whose form this season indicates that he is not ready to make the step up to playing Champions League football next season.

Howe has stressed the need for a strong squad and Lascelles has not done enough to prove that he has the quality to be a big part of that, which is why Ibanez could be the dream replacement to his position in the pecking order.