Newcastle United have reportedly opened talks with Bayer Leverkusen over a deal to sign 21-year-old left-back Mitchel Bakker.
According to the Daily Mail, Newcastle United are interested in signing Dutch left-back Mitchel Bakker and are in discussions with Bayer Leverkusen over the possibility of a deal for the Dutch Under-21 international as Eddie Howe looks to bolster his left-sided defensive options.
As expected, Newcastle United are having a very busy January transfer window. Their newfound financial clout, along with the club’s precarious position in the Premier League, has spurred speculation about many signings. So far, the Magpies have signed Kieran Trippier and striker Chris Wood. However, with improvements required all over the pitch, they continue to plough ahead with their attempts to bring in new players.
Newcastle have already upgraded the right-back slot by signing Trippier, but it seems adding another full-back on the opposite side is also on their agenda. Newcastle have recently been linked with multiple left-sided defenders, including Robin Gosens and Nicolas Tagliafico. However, a much younger alternative could be Bayer Leverkusen’s Mitchel Bakker, who has emerged as the latest target for the left-back position.
The 21-year-old came through the youth ranks at the highly-reputed Ajax academy before moving to Paris Saint-Germain. Despite a tough start to his PSG career, the youngster emerged as Les Parisiens’ first-choice left-back. He ended the 2020/21 season with 40 appearances across all competitions, including ten in the UEFA Champions League.
However, when Mauricio Pochettino took over as PSG manager in early 2021, the youngster’s game time fell off the cliff, as he was only limited to substitute appearances. The 21-year-old joined Bayer Leverkusen last summer to secure regular football but has only started 10 of Leverkusen’s 19 Bundesliga games due to injury issues, contributing with one goal and two assists.
While bringing in central defensive reinforcements is Newcastle’s major priority, they can do well by strengthening at left-back, as they are severely lacking quality in the area. Their current options include Jamal Lewis, who has largely been underwhelming since he arrived from Norwich.
Matt Ritchie has also played as a makeshift left-back but lacks the physicality for the role. Paul Dummett is a solid presence but has a worrying injury record, and at 30, he is hardly a long-term option. Bakker would undoubtedly increase competition in that position and may turn out to be a sensible signing in the long run.
Standing at 6ft 1in, the youngster has the height and physique to provide an aerial advantage on the flanks, while his composure on the ball and wicked left-footed crosses make him a great attacking threat from wide areas. Bakker is quick and aggressive on recovery runs, making him tailor-made for Howe’s front-footed style of play at Newcastle. At just 21, he still has tons of untapped potential.
The 21-year-old Dutchman has a contract until 2025 with the Bundesliga outfit. Newcastle are hoping to tempt Bayer Leverkusen into selling their prized asset by offering an opportunity to make a quick buck on their initial £8.5 million investment. Whether the Magpies land the Dutch sensation remains to be seen .