Newcastle United appear to be ruing their failed pursuit of Achraf Hakimi.
The Moroccan right-back was crowned African Youth Player of the Year for 2018 on Tuesday.
— Achraf Hakimi (@AchrafHakimi) 9 January 2019
2018 was the breakout year for Hakimi, having caught the eye for Real Madrid at the back end of last season.
Last summer he was loaned out to Borussia Dortmund, where he has really come into his own.
He has made 17 appearances for the Bundesliga outfit this term and impressed massively with his consistency and versatility.
Hakimi has been forced to play at left-back on a number of occasions, but he has done a brilliant job filling in for his adoptive club. He has scored one goal and made six assists.
This time last year, Rafa Benitez wanted to raid his old club Real Madrid to sign Hakimi on loan for the Magpies (The Sunday Express via The Daily Star).
A move never materialised, and Newcastle must now watch on as Hakimi goes from strength to strength at German league leaders Dortmund.
Newcastle were linked with a loan move for Hakimi, and he could well have performed just as well for the Toon Army as he is doing right now for Dortmund, and who knows where that could have led.
At the time of the link, Newcastle had DeAndre Yedlin, Jesus Gamez, Jamie Sterry and Javier Manquillo as options.
Perhaps ultimately Benitez felt as though he had enough cover, although Hakimi’s ability to play left-back would have been very nice indeed.
Fast forward 12 months and, arguably, Newcastler are crying out for fresh impetus in the full-back areas more than ever.