Newcastle transfer news: Eddie Howe wants to add ‘Hungarian Van Dijk’ to centre-back mix

Attila Szalai playing for Hungary Credit: Alamy
Attila Szalai playing for Hungary Credit: Alamy

Newcastle United reportedly want to sign highly-rated Fenerbahce central defender Attila Szalai in the January transfer window.

Eddie Howe’s men are expected to be active again in the new year as they look to build on their outstanding start to the season that currently sees them sitting third in the Premier League table.

The World Cup break came at just the wrong time for the Magpies as they battle for the top-four spots.

An impressive January window was followed up by an impressive summer one to give Howe a strong squad this season.

However, the club are refusing to rest on their laurels and will add to their numbers in January.

And according to Turkish news outlet Turkiye Gazetesi, Szalai is ‘wanted’ by the St James’ Park outfit.

However, Newcastle are not the only suitors, with West Ham United and Leicester City also eyeing a deal.

Fenerbahce are not under pressure to sell though, with Szalai’s contract not up until 2025.

Hungary star given favourable comparison

Newcastle are looking to add the player nicknamed the ‘Hungarian Van Dijk’ as they look to offload Jamaal Lascelles in January.

Szalai is 6ft 4in and ranks in the 86th percentile for touches, 84th for progressive passes received and 83rd for progressive passes out of centre-backs in Europe in the past year per FBRef. 

Those stats prove that he is comfortable with the ball at his feet, and is an all-round complete defender.

Szalai is also only 24 years and has plenty of years ahead to develop his game.

The centre-back also shares the same agent as Joelinton, which could make the deal easier to be signed off.

Newcastle are back in action on December 21 when they host Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup.

READ MORE: Insider reveals exactly what Newcastle must do to beat Tottenham in race for Leicester star

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