Newcastle have had a frustrating week in the transfer window after back-to-back successes with the additions of Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood. The pursuit of a centre-back, or two, has caused a lot of headaches this month.
The latest setback concerned Diego Carlos, who looked very close to joining just a few days ago. Now the 28-year-old looks like a distant prospect after saying he has plenty of time left with Sevilla after their game last night.
Work continues with other areas that need to be addressed. Newcastle are also linked with moves for another striker, midfielder and left-back. Although with Paul Dummett and Jamal Lewis now available, the latter doesn’t seem too pressing.
However, Newcastle appear to be targeting Bayer Leverkusen’s Mitchel Bakker. On Tuesday night, it was reported that talks had opened for the 21-year-old. The Mail followed up with its initial report saying these efforts are being stepped up.
Newcastle have submitted a £14.5million bid for the Dutch U21 international. That seems much more reasonable than the £8.5million reported on Tuesday. According to the latest report, Leverkusen are listening as they would receive double what they paid for the 21-year-old just six months ago.
The player wants to test himself in the Premier League and would be interested in making the switch. One aspect that could benefit Newcastle is that Leverkusen already have replacements on board in fellow Dutchman Daley Sinkgraven and summer signing Piero Hincapié.
This one seems straightforward if all the reported parameters are accurate. Leverkusen are keen to get more playing time for 20-year-old Hincapie and have an experienced hand at Sinkgraven, who is currently suffering from a mild hamstring injury.
Bakker would provide the offensive threat down the left that Eddie Howe is looking for. The 21-year-old is a tenacious force on the pitch that Newcastle fans would certainly appreciate. At 6’1″, he has the physical presence suited to the English game.
His rapid adaptation to the Bundesliga has seen his stock rise over the past six months. So Newcastle doubling the fee paid by Leverkusen over the summer isn’t too much of a concern. He was also regular at PSG under Thomas Tuchel, before his departure last December.
Bakker’s stay in Paris deteriorated under Tuchel’s successor Mauricio Pochettino, leading to his summer sale to Leverkusen. Pochettino preferred the experience of Layvin Kurzawa, or central defender Abdou Diallo, to the young Dutchman.
In March things got out of hand and after a win in which Bakker was an unused substitute, he was drawn into a shouting match with the coaching staff. The unfortunate incident was magnified in the French press at the time, but was nothing more than a display of frustration.
Joining Leverkusen, he immediately slotted into Gerardo Seoane’s 4-2-3-1 formation at left-back. But for an injury that sidelined him for a month and a half at the end of last year, he kept his place by making 15 appearances with 1 goal and 3 assists in all competitions.