Newcastle agree £30m fee for Brazil midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, who will undergo a medical in his homeland on Wednesday; Lyon deny an agreement has been reached; Arsenal also interested in 24-year-old, who has also been watched closely by Man Utd and PSG
With the clock ticking down to Monday’s transfer deadline, Newcastle United are closing on Bruno Guimaraes, a midfielder with all the attributes to spearhead the Magpies’ push for Premier League survival.
While the finer details may yet to be finalised, Sky Sports’ Jack Wilkinson explains why the qualities Guimaraes would bring to Eddie Howe’s squad at St James’ Park are not in question…
‘Lyon won’t give up Guimaraes without a fight’
You need to look no further than Lyon’s forcefully-worded statement to see just how highly the Ligue 1 club rate Guimaraes – and why they are not prepared to lose the midfielder without a fight.
Guimaraes moved to Lyon in January 2020 and went on to play 295 minutes in their run to the Champions League semi-finals, as the French club famously beat Italian champions Juventus and then English champions Man City before being knocked out by eventual winners Bayern Munich in the last four.
Guimaraes’ heatmap from that Champions League campaign illustrates he is a defensive midfielder by trade, but also a player with the attributes and hunger to venture forward whenever the opportunity arises.
In addition, his combative qualities have been right up there with the best in Ligue 1 this season, where he ranks fourth for duels won, eighth for tackles, and is joint-sixth for possession won in the middle third.
Guimaraes ranks 25th for possession won back in the attacking third, an impressive additional quality for a defence-minded midfielder which speaks volumes for his ability to press all over the pitch.
The box-to-box brilliance of Guimaraes
Guimaraes, who has been capped three times at international level by Brazil, comes into his own when his attacking qualities are examined. Not limited to merely carrying out defensive midfield duties, he is as effective in the opposition half and attacking areas, if not more effective.
Guimaraes tops the ranking in Ligue 1 this season for passes completed in the opposition half and sits joint-top with Marseille’s Dimitri Payet for passes completed in the final third.
For context, Paris Saint-Germain’s attacking stars, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi, rank fourth and fifth, respectively, for this metric.
The ability to find defence-splitting passes is illustrated by his high number of completed passes and chances created, while Guimaraes’ fouls won, and touches statistics show there are few more effective carriers of the ball than the Brazilian currently playing in France.
When you combine Guimaraes’ attacking and defensive qualities it’s clear Newcastle have identified a midfielder with genuine box-to-box qualities, a rare find at the best of times, let alone during a notoriously difficult January window which could be the difference between Premier League safety and relegation.