Newcastle United have raided the Bundesliga to strengthen their positions ahead of what might be a struggle for survival over the next few months.
Steve Bruce has made it a hat-trick of signings out of Germany with the catch of Nabil Bentaleb.
The 25-year-old was transferred to St James’ Park on loan with an option to purchase at the end of the season. The Algeria global was a crucial part of the side throughout the 2014/15 campaign, appearing in 26 Premier League matches.
However, Mauricio Pochettino did not fancy the prior Lille child and phased out him.
It was in Gelsenkirchen he really exploded. What he brought to the group was much greater than goals. He formed a great connection in the middle third with Leon Goretzka.
The subsequent effort, Schalke stunned the masses using a second-place finish under new manager Domenico Tedesco. Bentaleb appeared in over half of their Bundesliga matches and only 3 players scored more goals than the former Spurs man. It was an impressive showing in what was a piled Schalke side at the moment.
Injuries and disciplinary problems have supposed Bentaleb has not emerged for Schalke for near a year. However, a change of scenery could be what makes his career back on track again.
The participant is excited to be back in England: “I am very pleased to return into the Premier League,” the 25-year-old told the Newcastle site.
I wanted absolutely to return to the Premier League. The trainer had some hope in me and the club too — I saw that right away — and I think it’s the ideal move for me.”
Manager Steve Bruce appears content with the club’s first signing of the window, also.
“The fact he’s played in the Premier League before helps since we know he can play and understands what the requirements of the Premier League are,” said the boss.
“He has gone from the Premier League into Schalke and played in the Champions League too, so we’re thrilled to get him. It’s a wonderful signing.”
It was just the second time in their past seven games they have managed to pick up maximum points.
The fact they’ve fought to shut out the opposition has hurt them. That may be something Bentaleb can assist with.
To get a reasonable sample size, we needed to look at his stats over the 2017/18 and 2018/19 campaigns. Over that period of time, the 25-year-old averaged 7.49 chunk recoveries. For instance, Fabinho largely thought of as the best destroyer in the Premier League averages 7.02. That is not to say Bentaleb will be as great as the Brazilian, only he has it in him to be busy.
Aerially, he chips in, also. He had been winning 1.61 duels a 90 in the 2.5 he tried. Bentaleb covers the floor well and protects his defence.
On the ball, he is just as handy. Of the 46 moves he tries on average, he finds that a team-mate with 81 percent of these and, impressively, close to 30 percent of all his moves are forward. Both latter stats emphasize two things: Bentaleb is innovative in his play, but he is also frugal with the ball. He will take risks but he will also retain possession.
He gives Bruce choices in the middle third. He adds expertise to a part of the pitch the Magpies do not have outside Jonjo Shelvey and Isaac Hayden. He could prove to be a wise signing for Newcastle and a different bit of intelligent business.