After reportedly agreeing to sell France full-back Mathieu Debuchy to right-back-hunting Arsenal, Newcastle are batting their lashes at Ajax defender Ricardo van Rhijn.
Siem de Jong departed the Dutch giants in order to sign on at St James’ Park earlier in the week, but it doesn’t appear as though the Tynesiders are willing to bring their trolley dash around Amsterdam to a halt just yet.
Their insistence on signing solely French players has apparently been curbed as Alan Pardew aims to give the Magpies an Oranje feel for next season, which will see the club finish in the top half if odds of 6/4 are realised.
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Enlisting players of the 23-year-old’s talent seems a steady method of ensuring they’re successful on their quest to land that upper-echelon spot.
Each of the seven-cap Netherlands star’s three campaigns at Ajax ended in title-winning champagne showers.
The third and most recent of these played the role of apex-situated cherry after a defensively sound season for Van Rhijn in which our friends at whoscored.com recorded his tackles per game average at 1.8 to accompany a 1.4 interception rate.
Arsenal-bound Debuchy’s averages in these departments consumately outstrips his Dutch counterpart’s best efforts, but playing for Ajax, he won’t have been pressed into as much defensive activity as a Newcastle side who spent the second half of the campaign bungee jumping without a cord.
Like any full-back in a title-chasing side, competency in possession and an eagerness to attack are musts and Van Rhijn, much like Debuchy, is a master of these arts.
He chipped in with three assists; an identical tally to that of the man whose throne he’s heir to mustered.
But his use of the ball was consistently better – he made 17 more passes per outing on average the Frenchman and his 84.8 per cent pass accuracy rate comfortably bests Debuchy’s humdrum 78.2.