Newcastle United sporting director Dan Ashworth is believed to be interested in a potential summer deal for Napoli sensation Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, with the Georgian dynamo having enjoyed a remarkable last six months in Italy.
What’s the latest on Kvaratskhelia to Newcastle?
According to Football Insider, the Magpies are said to have identified the 22-year-old as a top target ahead of the summer transfer window, with the Tynesiders currently ‘shortlisting’ possible attacking options who could strengthen Eddie Howe‘s squad.
However, the report does suggest that securing Champions League qualification could be a ‘critical factor’ in their hopes of landing the 19-cap wizard, with the forward having only arrived in Naples from Dinamo Batumi in a €10m (£9m) deal last July.
This comes amid previous claims made in December which stated that Ashworth and co are interested in the 6 foot speedster, albeit with the Serie A leaders likely to demand close to £100m for their sparkling asset.
Could Kvaratskhelia wreak ‘havoc’ at Newcastle?
That mammoth price tag has arguably been warranted as a result of Kvaratskhelia’s displays of late, with the fleet-footed winger having been a central part of Napoli’s title charge, scoring nine goals and providing 11 assists in the league already this season.
Affectionately named ‘Kvaradona‘ – in homage to the late, great Diego Maradona – the former Rubin Kazan star also announced himself to the wider world with his displays during the Champions League group stage, with five goal involvements in as many outings.
The eye-catching talent was particularly impressive in the 4-1 thrashing of Liverpool last September, with Reds manager Jurgen Klopp having described Kvaratskhelia as “cheeky” as a result of his dynamism and directness in the final third.
In truth, it is the seemingly carefree manner in which the highly-coveted wide man has performed that has particularly caught the eye, with the 22-year-old earning notable praise earlier this season from New York Times correspondent Rory Smith.
He stated: “I genuinely haven’t enjoyed watching someone play football as much as I enjoy watching Khvicha Kvaratskhelia play football for years. He’s instinctive, untamed, anarchic and, most of all, he’s really, really good fun.”
The hope would be that the Tbilisi native could replicate such an impact at St James’ Park, having been lauded by Tottenham Hotspur insider John Wenham as a “complete menace” and a player who “causes havoc”.
Those traits are laid bare by the fact that the exciting talent ranks in the top 7% among those in his position in Europe’s top five leagues for progressive carries, as well as in the top 12% for successful take-ons, proving to be something of a nightmare for any opposition defender.
Being able to recruit such a ferocious and reliable attacking presence could prove a real game-changer for Howe’s side, with it set to be a real masterstroke if Kvaratskhelia can replicate his work in Italy by transforming Newcastle into title contenders, should the Magpies bring him to the Premier League.
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