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Can Oguzhan Ozyakup become Newcastle United’s Steven Gerrard with rumours intensifying

Reports are suggesting that Newcastle United have won the race for the Turkish international.

Mathew Coull

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Photo: Getty Images

Reports in Turkey are suggesting that Newcastle United may have won the race to sign Oguzhan Ozyakup on a free transfer from Besiktas. CNN Turkey along with Fotospor are just two outlets reporting the news that the former Arsenal player is set to join Rafa Benitez’s side.

It stems from a report by Radio Marca, as reported by Fotospor, that Benitez has met with Ozyakup’s agent Kees Vos and lawyer Alfredo Seco to conclude a deal. The talented midfielder is out of contract in the summer and therefore available on a free transfer and has been linked with a number of clubs across Europe.

The Turkish international will reportedly become Newcastle’s biggest earner as Benitez sees him as a potential Steven Gerrard type for the Magpies.

(Photo credit by Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images)

Benitez arguably got the best football out of Gerrard during his illustrious Liverpool career. It was under Rafa’s guidance that he wrestled the Champions League title from AC Milan in 2005. He also won the PFA Players Player Award in 2006 and Football Writers award in 2009.

Such an influential player is not present at Newcastle United. Whilst Jonjo Shelvey is a talented player, he will never have the same work-rate as Gerrard.

Ozyakup certainly fits the mould in that respect. The Turkish star is relentless on the field and an absolute 90 minute man.

The 25-year-old, who spent four years in the Arsenal academy, is a similar player to Gerrard. He is capable of playing in every area of central midfield. Ozyakup can play the deep holding role, breaking up play and helping defensively.

The Besiktas star can also play box-to-box, perhaps his best position. Ozyakup is equally adept in a number 10 role if called upon, playing on the shoulder of a striker and getting amongst the goals.

(Photo by Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images)

If Newcastle do get their man, as reported, then there is every chance he can develop into an important player under Benitez.

There are obvious parallels in style between Ozyakup and the Liverpool legend, but as yet the Turkish star is nowhere near his level. Perhaps playing under Benitez, who worked such wonders with Gerrard,  can take Ozyakup to the next step.

Liverpool

Liverpool should use Alberto Moreno in Jamaal Lascelles pursuit

The Spaniard is struggling for first-team football at Liverpool.

Mathew Coull

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Liverpool have had an excellent season, making it to the Champions League final and finishing in the Premier League top four. But the building for next season is also set to get underway soon and Liverpool still want to further improve their backline. A new centre-back is set to be targeted and The Independent believe that Jamaal Lascelles could be the man Liverpool turn to, with James Tarkowski of Burnley also mentioned.

Lascelles would obviously be a top option. The Newcastle captain has been an inspiration for the club this campaign and many were surprised he did not make it into Gareth Southgate’s plans for the World Cup.

(during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Arsenal at St. James Park on April 15, 2018 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

But he will not come cheap and after Liverpool spent big on Virgil Van Dijk in January the Tyneside club will be pushing the price up.

However, could Liverpool have a secret weapon in the form of Alberto Moreno?

Back in 2015 Rafa Benitez very nearly signed Moreno. The deal with Liverpool was done but, with Alvaro Arbeloa sticking around, Benitez decided Moreno was no longer needed and the deal was pulled off the table.

That was whilst manager at Real Madrid. Moreno would be an excellent option to further improve Newcastle and provide some competition to Paul Dummett in the left-back position.

(during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match between Liverpool and FC Porto at Anfield on March 6, 2018 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

Liverpool paid Sevilla around £12 million, as reported by The Telegraph, to sign Moreno back in 2014 but he has struggled for consistency since his arrival at Anfield. This season he has been replaced by Andrew Robertson, after spending most of last season behind James Milner in the pecking order.

Throwing Moreno into any deal would have to see Newcastle decrease the fee they might ask for to let their captain go this summer. Newcastle would be getting their hands on a 25-year-old Spanish international and a handsome sum of money, whilst Liverpool would get their defensive target.

It would be a fine piece of business for both clubs.

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Newcastle United

Fernando Torres’ arrival as a free agent at Newcastle United would suit all parties

Josh Kerr

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Fernando Torres
Photo: Getty Images

According to reports this week from Spanish outlet Marca, Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez is open to the idea of Fernando Torres joining him on Tyneside next season.

The 34-year-old striker recently played his last game for Atletico Madrid, scoring twice for his boyhood club in the team’s 2-2 draw against Eibar in the final round of La Liga fixtures.

He also ended his final season at his boyhood club with a trophy as he lifted the Europa League after Los Colchoneros beat Marseille 3-0 in the final.

El Nino has proven he can score goals both in the Premier League and La Liga, arguably the two best leagues in the world, and the Magpies should jump at the chance to have him in their squad.

Newcastle are crying out for a prolific goalscorer after Islam Slimani’s loan move from Leicester proved to be a disaster, and the arrival of Joselu was one of the most disappointing transfers of the season.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Ayoze Perez was the club’s top-scorer with 10 goals, despite being a centre-forward rather than an out-and-out goalscorer.

At 34, Torres is by no means a long-term option but, as a free transfer, the Spanish forward is definitely worth the gamble.

It was Benitez, after all, that got the form out of Torres that saw him as one of the world’s most formidable strikers.

The former Merseyside hero scored 72 goals in 116 games for Benitez at Liverpool and he may be tempted into a reunion.

Age is but a number, even in the Premier League, and Newcastle fans should look no further than Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was able to set England alight in his first season at 35.

Torres was once world-class and one final move may see the quality that made the Madrid striker one of the most recognised names in world football.

Newcastle need to score more goals to improve on their impressive 10th place finish and securing Torres would help in achieving just that. Also, as a free transfer, it still allows Benitez to go and spend money elsewhere.

A move for Benitez’s fellow countryman could get supporters very excited.

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Derby County

Newcastle United should take advantage of Matej Vydra’s low asking fee

The Czech international has scored 20 goals in the Championship this season.

Josh Kerr

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Matej Vydra
Photo: Getty Images

Newcastle United ensuring another season of Premier League football represents one of Rafael Benitez’ most impressive achievements in football to date.

The job done by the Spaniard is all the more admirable considering the Magpies striker options have been thin for large periods of the season, and the arrival of a goal-scorer is surely imminent for the Tyneside club.

According to The Telegraph, Derby County are likely to list their top-scorer Matej Vydra for sale after their failure to earn promotion to the Premier League.

This comes as massive news to a number of clubs in England’s top-flight, and Newcastle should be one of the front-runners queuing for the 26-year-old’s prolific services.

The Czech Republic international has been excellent this season firing 20 goals in 35 appearances for the Rams.

Reports suggest the club may be forced to sell their star striker in order to reduce the club’s £35 million wage bill ahead of next season.

The 26-year-old’s sale this summer will be Derby’s attempts to slash their budgets and form a strategy that is going to enable the club to push for promotion once again next season.

A fee of around £8 million could prove a major boost for Newcastle, considering the club’s financial restraints, and a 20-goal striker would surely be an improvement on Benitez’s current front-line options.

(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Islam Slimani’s loan move from Leicester proved to be a disaster, and the arrival of Joselu was one of the most disappointing transfers of the season.

The club are in desperate need of a goalscorer, with Perez leading the club’s individual efforts, despite being a number 10 and not an out-and-out goalscorer.

Vydra also has rare Premier League experience with West Bromwich Albion, as well as Watford, and his graft in the Championship may mean he’s ready for a return back to the top-flight.

The former West Brom striker guarantees goals and if there is one thing Tyneside supporters have missed in recent years, it is a goal-scoring hero.

At a little over £8 million, he could still prove a real bargain and a relatively insignificant risk.

Benitez has been wanting to break the bank since his arrival in 2016 but may be tempted do a deal on the cheap for the highly-rated striker.

Newcastle will be looking to improve on their impressive 10th place finish next season and the firepower of a genuine goalscorer could see them surpass the highs of this campaign.

Vydra offers pace and is even an aerial threat at just 5ft 2, so it has to be a priority for Newcastle to capture one of the bargains of the season and bring Vydra to St James’ Park.

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