Newcastle United have made their first move to sign AS Roma defender Roger Ibanez this summer, according to reports.
What’s the latest on Ibanez’s future?
The Telegraph have reported that Eddie Howe is targeting a new centre-back during the upcoming window, and despite his contract not expiring for another two years, the 24-year-old has been identified as a potential candidate having impressed in Serie A this season, where he is Jose Mourinho’s second best-performing defensive player.
The Brazilian international has been a regular feature of his first-team this campaign, making 30 top flight appearances from a total of 34 matches, but it’s not the first time that he’s been on the radar at St. James’ Park.
Back in March, Italian outlet Forza Roma claimed that the Magpies failed in an attempt to secure the defender’s services last year but were still monitoring him should they decide to make a second attempt, and it sounds like they have already once again taken the opening step towards bringing him to the Premier League.
According to Giallorossi.net (via Sport Witness), Newcastle, alongside top-flight rivals Tottenham Hotspur, are both “in the picture” to sign Ibanez ahead of the 2023/24 term. The Magpies, the Lilywhites and even Atletico Madrid are already “making concrete moves” to get a deal over the line, with the northeast outfit having sent scouts to watch him live in action last weekend. AS Roma have set a €30m (£26m) price tag for their prized asset, with this being the required fee needed in order to sanction a sale in the months ahead.
Do Newcastle have any chance of signing Ibanez?
Newcastle are set to face stiff competition from Spurs and Atletico in the race for Ibanez, but with the defender sharing the same agent as Bruno Guimaraes, PIF’s existing representative connection to the player should stand them in good stead come the summer.
The Europa Conference League winner ranks in the 96th percentile for interceptions and has won 32 of his tackles from a total of 65 players challenged since the start of the term, which is the second-highest success rate throughout the whole of his squad, as per FBRef.
The Canela native is also capable of contributing to his team’s efforts in the final third with 11 goal involvements (nine goals and two assists) to his name in 143 Roma outings, which has seen him hailed a “danger” in the opposition box by journalist Josh Bunting, so when considering this alongside the fact that he has the versatility to operate anywhere across the backline, he’s a real no-brainer to go for.