Who is on Newcastle’s summer transfer radar?
The Toon are on the brink of securing what would feel like a huge stride forward in the club’s progression under their new ownership.
Champions League football will have been on the list of targets for the Saudi Arabian-based consortium, however, doing it within the first 18 months of taking over may have been merely a dream.
But that is exactly what Eddie Howe’s side look set to achieve over the coming weeks having secured a nine-point gap over fifth-placed Liverpool with just five games remaining.
The Magpies aren’t quite able to celebrate yet, but with games against the likes of Leeds United and Leicester City on the horizon, it does feel like they will get themselves over the line.
And victory over Southampton on the weekend also provided Dan Ashworth and Howe an opportunity to view two potential summer targets in person.
Indeed, speaking on his YouTube channel after the game, journalist Craig Hope claimed the Toon have identified Lavia and Ward-Prowse as potential options for the summer:
(9:15) “Now I will just mention two players because they were playing out there playing for Southampton: Romeo Lavia in midfield, the young midfielder who I thought was very good. Of course, dispossessed Bruno [Guimaraes] for that goal. He’s someone that they like. I think they’ve liked him for a while now. And also James Ward-Prowse. Now I’m told, James Ward-Prowse is on the list, but probably very low down the list.”
Who would be the better signing for Newcastle?
It is apparent the Toon are in need of further strength in depth after the January transfer window left the 45-year-old manager frustrated with his dwindling options.
If Newcastle are looking to add an attacking threat to their ranks, then Ward-Prowse will stand out between the pair as the more suitable option.
The Englishman has provided more than double (3.34) the shot-creating actions that Lavia has offered this season (1.66) as well as six more goals and two more assists (via Fbref).
However, defensively, Lavia has proved more of a dominant force in the Southampton side. Hailed an “absolute monster” by journalist Benjy Nurick, the 19-year-old has returned just under 2.5 tackles per 90 minutes this season.
The Belgian teenager – who has a £40m buy-back clause with Manchester City – has also racked up considerably more (80.1) progressive yards in carries per 90 minutes in comparison to Ward-Prowse (54.8).
Southampton’s precarious position in the league could potentially see the Saints look to offload some of their valuable players with Lavia one of those in demand.