£69m star could add some scintillating firepower and productivity to Newcastle
Newcastle United have entered the race for Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby.
What’s the latest on Moussa Diaby to Newcastle United?
According to SportBILD (via Sport Witness), the Magpies have become involved in a “tug of war” alongside Paris Saint-Germain for the Frenchman’s signature.
The outlet explains that the German outfit is due to get a ‘completely new look’ next season, as various members of the team are set to depart after an impressive season.
Therefore, Diaby is one of the players who could leave, and speculation about a move to St James Park has been fuelled by Newcastle’s previous chase for the attacker.
Sky Sports reporter Florian Plettenberg previously confirmed it will take a fee of between €70m-€80m [£60-£69m] to convince Leverkusen to sell.
However, it is a competitive market for the 23-year-old, and it will ultimately boil down to the player’s decision, but fresh from their qualification for the Champions League, Eddie Howe’s side can offer minutes in Europe’s most elite competition.
Who could Moussa Diaby replace at Newcastle United?
The ten-cap international has been unstoppable for Leverkusen this season, having contributed 25 goal involvements in 47 appearances.
Morade Djeddi, president of the forward’s first club Esperance Paris 19e, has eulogised over Diaby’s quality saying: “Since he was young, Moussa had this talent… very quickly, you realise that he has explosiveness, an ability to take on his opponent and dribbling skills.
“He was born with it. It’s just that Moussa has a supernatural, divine gift. A gift that some have and others don’t.”
His imperious form and impressive reputation mean that the former PSG prodigy could displace Miguel Almiron in the starting line up next term.
The Paraguayan began the campaign in scintillating style as he registered ten goals and assists in 14 games between August and December 2022, but since the World Cup, his effervescence has dried up as he’s only found the net three times in 18 outings.
Diaby would provide direct competition and his arrival could be a serious detriment to Almiron’s game time.
Hailed as “dangerous” by Freiburg’s Nils Pederson, the Bundesliga talent ranks in the top 19% in Europe’s top five leagues among his positional peers for progressive carries per 90, as well as the highest 30% for assists per 90, according to FBref.
Conversely, Newcastle’s current wideman disappointingly resides in the bottom 41% and 11% for the same metrics, to underline that Diaby is more influential and productive.
Simon Rolfes, Leverkusen’s sporting director, has also heaped praise on the £32k-per-week star, commenting: “Moussa Diaby is an extremely fast, technically strong striker whose qualities suit our game down to the ground.”
With the pressure and workload drastically increased upon Howe’s side next season, Diaby’s signing would be a huge boost for the club but not necessarily to cult hero Almiron.