Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has been looking at Argentina international Nicolas Tagliafico as a potential signing to bolster the Magpies’ left back position with Antonio Barreca set for the exit door this summer.
The Chronicle claim on their website that the Monaco loanee will not have his temporary spell turned permanent after struggling for game time at St James’ Park and with just one other natural left back in the squad, coming in the shape of Paul Dummett, it is stated a new full back is high on Benitez’s priority list.
The report claims that Tagliafico was identified as a potential signing last summer, Benitez left disappointed due to a lack of funds, and that his name is being pushed with a move to Tyneside this season.
Is he special?
Any full back playing in the quarter finals of the Champions League is worth taking notice of and that is exactly what the 13-cap Argentinian international is doing with Ajax this season.
He has been a mainstay for the Dutch club as they chase the Eredivisie title as well as upsetting the odds on the European stage and with five goals and six assists, he is also a threat down the other end of the pitch.
The 26-year-old is your typical wing back, with bags of pace to burn and a desire to bomb forward at any opportunity, but as proven in his side’s shock win over Real Madrid, has the ability to keep the world’s best quiet at the back.
The fact that Arsenal and Liverpool are reportedly keen on his capture sort of gives away he might be a massive talent and Mike Ashley would be making a massive statement if he managed to get his signing sealed at St James’ Park.
Not only would it boost the talent in the pitch, it would almost certainly be the sort of signing which got Benitez to pen a new deal at the club.
Where does he fit in at Newcastle?
That is an easy enough question – at the top of the pecking order when it comes to left backs. No offence to Dummett, but he is severely limited in the modern game and as has been the case of late with Newcastle back three, might be suited more to a centre back’s position.
He would bring the attacking dimension to make a three-man defence work, while offering defensive quality when tracking back – something the likes of Matt Ritchie, who has been shoehorned into a wing back role, struggle with.
Tagliafico has been compared to Argentina legend Javier Zanetti for his style of play at the back. They both also played for Banfield back in their home country and it was both the club Inter Milan bought the veteran from and where Tagliafico arrived at Ajax from.