“Both real powerhouses”: Newcastle could form “incredible” duo by signing 6ft3 “beast” – opinion


Newcastle United could well able to form an impressive centre-back pairing with the addition of Inter Milan defender Milan Skriniar, according to journalist Pete O’Rourke.

What’s the word?

Recent reports in Italy have suggested that the Magpies are firmly interested in signing the Slovakia international in 2023, as the 27-year-old faces an uncertain future at the San Siro with just six months left on his existing deal.

The Tynesiders will seemingly have competition in their quest to land the potential free agent, though, with the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur having all been linked with a move of late.

Focusing solely on the interest from those at St James’ Park, the aforementioned O’Rourke has told Football FanCast that Eddie Howe’s side could well have the makings of a fearsome defensive partnership, should the 58-cap brute be snapped up in the New Year.

Asked about the prospect of partnering the imposing ace with summer signing Sven Botman, the transfer insider stated: “On paper they’ve got the makings of a great central defensive pairing.

“You’ve got Botman who can play on the left-hand side with Skriniar on the right side and those two defenders together are real powerhouses as well.

“Two top defenders who have good pedigree in European football as well so I think it will be a great defensive pairing in the making for Newcastle if they can put them together.”

Could form “incredible” duo

As O’Rourke referenced, that left foot/right foot combination of Botman and Skriniar at the heart of the backline could well be a truly monstrous duo for Howe and co moving forward, with the latter having shown his quality in Italy in recent times.

The former Sampdoria ace – who has been dubbed an “absolute beast” by journalist David Amoyal – has racked up 236 appearances in all competitions for the Nerazzurri to date, memorably playing a key part in the Scudetto triumph during the 2020/21 campaign.

That glorious season under Antonio Conte saw the 6 foot 3 menace notably keep 12 clean sheets from his 32 league outings, while also averaging 1.5 tackles and 2.7 clearances per game as a marker of his defensive prowess.

As his current form has illustrated, though, the £92k-per-week machine is also a composed presence in possession, showcased by his ranking in the top 4% of players in Europe among those in his position for pass completion, also featuring in the top 14% for progressive passes received.

Partnering such an all-round figure alongside the aforementioned Botman would help to strengthen Newcastle’s backline even further, with the latter having already played a key role in conceding a league-best record of just 11 goals this season.

The “incredible” talent – as lauded by pundit Leon Osman – has clearly already made a “huge difference” since his £35m arrival from Lille, in the words of journalist Josh Bunting, with the towering 6 foot 6 colossus having made a smooth transition to life in English football.

The impressive 22-year-old – who has won 72% of his duels in the top flight this season – could well benefit from having an experienced long-term partner alongside him such as Skriniar, with current centre-back colleague Fabian Schar having just 18 months remaining on his existing deal at Newcastle.

As such, potentially prising the Inter colossus from his current club could well prove to be a masterstroke for the Magpies, with no opposition forward likely to relish coming up against a Botman-Skriniar defensive axis.


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