Bayer Leverkusen defender Mitchel Bakker would be an “excellent acquisition” for Newcastle United.
That would be the verdict of Bundesliga expert Dan O’Hagan as rumours of a potential move for the Dutch defender continue to gather pace.
The 21-year-old came from Ajax’s famous ‘De Toekomst’ academy but a surprise move to Paris Saint Germain meant he never made a senior appearance for his boyhood club.
Despite being brought in as a future prospect, Bakker fought his way into the PSG first-team and won the praise of current Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchal with a string of impressive performances.
Tuchal’s departure in December 2020 and the arrival of former Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino limited Bakker’s first-team opportunities and he was allowed to join Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen last summer.
The Dutch under-21 international made a promising start to life in Germany and marked his home debut with a goal in a 4-0 win against Borussia Monchengladbach.
An ankle injury suffered in a 0-2 defeat against Vfl Wolfsburg curtailed his promising introduction at Leverkusen - but Bakker has returned to feature in his side’s last four games.
Speculation of a possible £14.5million move to Newcastle have not come a surprise for O’Hagan, who believes the move would work for all parties.
‘Would be an excellent acquisition for Newcastle’
He told NewcastleWorld: “Economics being the way they are, if Newcastle put in the right offer, I think Leverkusen would be open to the move and wouldn’t need too much convincing.
“He made a good start at Leverkusen after they brought him in to replace the Brazilian left-back Wendal, who went to play in Portugal.
“Bakker had been at Ajax for nine years, so he was well-schooled and was given a terrific foundation in the game.
“PSG was maybe the wrong move, it’s a club where politics are at play and maybe he wasn’t seen as a big enough name to fit with some big-name players - but Leverkusen was the right move.
“He was an upgrade on Wendal and Daley Sinkgraven, who hasn’t really convinced Leverkusen.
“Bakker is a typical, modern full-back, but they haven’t really seen the best of him yet because of the injury he suffered earlier in the season.
“He’s back now and I think he would be an excellent acquisition for Newcastle.”
Be aware of agent talk
Bakker is not the only Bundesliga player mentioned in relation with a move to Tyneside this month.
Freiburg centre-back Nico Schlotterbeck and Borussia Monchengladbach duo Denis Zakaria and Alassane Plea are also on an ever-increasing list of speculated transfer targets for the Magpies.
O’Hagan - a regular commentator on Sky Sports Bundesliga coverage - believes many German clubs are holding a watching brief on events at Newcastle and are well aware of the “financial clout” possessed at St James Park.
“A whole host of Bundesliga players have been linked to Newcastle - but I think a lot is mostly agents talking,” he explained.
“They have seen a club out there with money to spend and I think the clubs themselves are saying let’s see what happens with Newcastle
“For a club like Leverkusen, with Covid meaning a lack of fans through the turnstiles hitting their finances, it would be all about getting best possible deal for themselves if Newcastle came in for a player.
“I think German clubs are aware of the financial clout they now have and will hope to make the most of that if a bid came in.”