Newcastle are interested in signing Vitesse Arnhem defender Danilho Doekhi in the upcoming transfer window, as reported by Football Insider.
What is the latest transfer news involving Doekhi?
Doekhi has recently been linked with Rangers after impressing in the Eredivisie this season.
Now, Newcastle and Fulham have joined the race to sign the highly-rated centre-back.
How much is Doekhi worth and when does his contract expire?
The 22-year-old is only valued at £1.8m by Transfermarkt. However, it appears likely that the Dutch club will demand a higher fee given Doekhi’s age and his level of performances this term.
Having joined from Ajax’s youth setup in 2018, Doekhi has one year left on his contract at Vitesse.
What are Doekhi’s stats this season?
Doekhi has started 28 of Vitesse’s 30 league matches in 2020/21. The team are currently fourth in the table, and have conceded just 28 goals all season – only Ajax (21) have shipped fewer.
Over the course of the campaign, Doekhi has been a reliable presence at the back, winning more tackles (57) and making more interceptions (47) than any Newcastle player when in league action, as per WhoScored.
He is also a formidable opponent in the air, winning 82 aerial duels in the Dutch top-flight – once more this puts him ahead of Newcastle’s top performer in this category, Joelinton (81).
What has been said about Doekhi?
Vitesse’s manager Thomas Letsch has been pleased by Doekhi’s development, and earlier this year he lavished praise on the youngster.
Speaking to NOS, Letsch said: “Danilho is extremely important. He is one of the best center-backs in the league.
“He already played fantastic last year and this season he has performed at the highest level in every game. Danilho makes almost no mistakes and is an absolute team player, a very calm player.”
Can Doekhi help end Bruce’s constant chopping and changing?
Newcastle have conceded 54 goals in the Premier League this season – only three sides have conceded more. It has given Steve Bruce an indefinite selection headache.
He has constantly switched between different formations, trying three, four and five at the back at different stages of the season. None have worked effectively for any length of time.
It has become clear that Bruce does not fully trust his defence, having used midfielder Isaac Hayden in a deeper role multiple times.
Perhaps Doekhi could change this, though. He has proven himself in the Netherlands, and seems to be ready to test himself in a major European league.
In recent years, we have seen how one signing can strengthen a defence tenfold, with Virgil van Dijk and Ruben Dias making major differences to Liverpool and Manchester City’s back lines respectively.
Expecting Doekhi to have a similar influence is unrealistic, but it does illustrate that having a classy defender can lift the whole team.
If Newcastle get their man, this could give Bruce the confidence to settle on a preferred defence and subsequently a preferred system, knowing that he has Doekhi to call upon to marshal his backline.