One area that does appear in need of strengthening for Newcastle United this summer is in central midfield, with Eddie Howe‘s side currently looking rather thin on the ground with regard to options in that department.
The decision to allow Jonjo Shelvey to join relegation strugglers Nottingham Forest has only exacerbated the lack of midfield depth, hence the need for the Magpies to adequately bolster their ranks if they are to push on again next season.
It does appear that the Tynesiders have already identified a possible solution to that problem in the form of Celta Vigo starlet, Gabriel ‘Gabri’ Veiga, with reports on the continent having spoken of the Premier League side’s interest.
As one Spanish outlet claimed earlier in the week, the St James’ Park outfit – as well as both Manchester United and Real Madrid – are seemingly keeping tabs on the promising Spaniard, following what has been a remarkable, breakthrough campaign for the 20-year-old in La Liga.
Another outlet – AS (via Sports Witness) – previously revealed that Newcastle had sent scouts to watch the youngster in action, with the top-four hopefuls said to be ‘one of the most interested’ in acquiring the playmaker’s services.
The Spain U21 international will likely not come cheap for any suitor, however, as he reportedly has a €40m (£35m) release clause in his current deal.
What is Gabri Veiga’s style of play?
The 6-foot sensation – who has risen up through Celta’s youth ranks – has the versatility to feature on the flanks, yet has typically lined up in an attacking midfield role in his embryonic career to date, notably sharing a number of stylistic and statistical similarities with current Magpies star, Joe Willock, as per FBref.
That likeness is indicated by the fact that the two men both offer a real forward-thinking and dynamic midfield approach, with Willock having racked up 73 progressive passes and 57 progressive carries so far this season, while Veiga is only just behind as he has recorded 41 and 66 for the same two metrics, respectively.
That willingness to get forward had also been showcased by the fact that the latter man ranks in the top 5% in Europe among those in his position for touches in the attacking penalty area, while the former Arsenal man – who arrived in the northeast on an initial loan deal back in February 2021 – ranks in the top 1% in that regard.
Such a comparison seemingly bodes well for the impact that the Spaniard can make on Tyneside, with Willock currently thriving after starting 20 Premier League games this season, having earned praise for his form from manager Howe, who stated back in January:
“He’s very athletic, got an eye for goal, technically very good and tactically he is improving.”
To be able to recruit a similar figure in the form of Veiga would certainly enhance the level of competition in Howe’s squad, with the emerging gem having sparkled this season with eight goals and three assists from his 23 appearances in the Spanish top flight.
An “interesting box-to-box midfielder” – as described by talent scout Jacek Kulig – the highly-coveted ace has no doubt warranted such interest such has been his stellar hot streak so far this season, having notably produced an “amazing performance“, as per Kulig, against Real Valladolid last month.
While Newcastle will clearly have a fight on their hands to land the Willock-esque starlet, a summer swoop could well prove a real masterstroke.