Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe will likely use this current halt to proceedings to plot his potential moves in the upcoming January transfer window, with the World Cup stage likely to allow the Englishman to keep tabs on possible targets.
One man who could play a leading role for his country in Qatar is silky Frenchman, Adrien Rabiot, with the 6 foot 2 sensation heading into the tournament off the back of a stunning run of form at club level, with the Juventus midfielder scoring five times and laying on two assists in just 16 outings for the Serie A outfit this season.
That standout form – which has seen the 27-year-old dubbed “breathtaking” by journalist Mina Rzouki – has come after the former Paris Saint-Germain man appeared destined for a departure from Turin over the summer, with Premier League giants Manchester United having been heavily linked with a high-profile swoop.
The Magpies, too, had also been tipped to make a move for the 29-cap gem in the recent window, with the playmaker facing an uncertain future at the Allianz Stadium with just over six months left on his existing deal.
With the £150k-per-week giant yet to agree to an extension despite his latest resurgence, it could well be time for the Tynesiders to pounce once again in January, particularly should Rabiot go on to impress again on the international stage in the coming weeks.
The one-time Manchester City youth asset will likely have the chance to shine in Didier Deschamps’ side amid injuries to the likes of Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante, having previously missed Les Bleus’ glorious triumph four years ago after being left out of the squad in Russia.
Now set to be chomping at the bit to show his worth this time around, the Saint-Maurice-born powerhouse could go on to be one of the leading assets for the much-fancied holders, potentially helping to see his stock rise even further.
As far as those back at St James’ Park are concerned, were the club to get the towering gem through the door he could potentially replicate the success of resurgent hero, Joelinton, with the pair said to share a number of stylistic and statistical similarities, as per FBref.
The in-form Brazilian – who was dubbed “special” by Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher last term – offers a dynamic midfield presence to Howe’s side, showcased by the fact that he ranks in the top 13% in Europe’s top leagues for dribbles completed, with Rabiot only slightly behind as he ranks in the top 18% for the same metric.
The latter man also mirrors the Magpies gem as a result of his defensive work as he averages 2.68 tackles per game, while Joelinton averages 2.79 tackles per game, showcasing that the duo both offer a real ball-winning asset in the middle of the pitch.
A comparison to the former Hoffenheim man may not have been flattering just over a year ago, although Joelinton has emerged as a real leading asset in Howe’s side over the last 12 months, notably playing a key part in the club’s surge this season after making 12 top-flight starts.
To bring in a figure such as Rabiot to provide further competition and depth could well be an ideal addition as far as the Tynesiders are concerned, with the one-time Toulouse loanee having notably been praised by ex-teammate Gianluigi Buffon in the past, with the Italian icon stating:
“Rabiot is incredible, very strong. What I met is a champion, a fantastic mix: he has physical strength of [Paul] Pogba – he is a proper wardrobe. He has [Arturo] Vidal’s personality in the game and potentially [Claudio] Marchisio’s dynamism and ability to integrate ”
Such a glowing assessment is a sign of the midfield maestro’s quality – something that could well be on show in Qatar – with Newcastle simply needing to get a deal completed in the New Year.