Newcastle: Gabri Veiga would be better than Maddison

The Celta Vigo prodigy is close to sealing a move to Tyneside…

Newcastle United are closing on their first signing of the summer after qualifying for the Champions League and could unearth a real prodigy in Celta Vigo star Gabri Veiga.

What’s the latest on Gabri Veiga to Newcastle?
According to Spanish outlet Marca (via the Express), the Magpies are now ‘very close’ to signing the 21-year-old midfielder, who has enjoyed an exemplary breakout campaign with the Sky Blues.

Spanish sources first reported Newcastle’s interest several months ago, who had sent scouts out to observe the Spaniard in action, evidently leaving enamoured with his skill set.

Fabrizio Romano recently confirmed that the prodigy’s release clause stands at €40m (£34m), and while the likes of Liverpool and Real Madrid are also vying for his signature, it is indeed Eddie Howe’s burgeoning outfit who look set to win the race.

How good is Gabri Veiga?
Newcastle have held a vested interest in Leicester City’s James Maddison for a considerable amount of time now, failing with a £50m bid last summer, probing again in winter and now eyeing a £40m move for the England international following the Foxes’ relegation.

The playmaking whiz has been one of the Premier League’s most prolific midfielders over the past several seasons, and has indeed illustrated his aptitude with ten goals and nine assists this term despite his outfit’s plummet into the second tier.

The argument that he would bolster Newcastle’s offensive potency is unequivocal, but with Veiga closing on a move to Tyneside, he’s arguably the perfect alternative for the 26-year-old, potentially even eclipsing Maddison’s prospective feats at St. James’ Park.

Last season, the “Spanish gem” – as dubbed by Romano – plied his trade in the Spanish third division before making seven late league appearances for Celta Vigo’s first team after captivating with his exploits; this term, he has plundered nine goals and four assists in LaLiga, his first full season at top-flight level.

As per FBref, he ranks among the top 1% of midfielders across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for rate of non-penalty goals, the top 21% for rate of assists, the top 13% for progressive carries, the top 11% for successful take-ons and the top 10% for touches in the attacking box per 90, which underscored just how much of a driving force he would be for Howe’s thriving squad, who now offer the allure of Champions League football after finishing fourth.

While the Magpies have indeed been in stellar showing this term, the onus will now be on cementing this newfound stature and crafting a dynasty set to last, and Veiga, who is dazzling at the maiden stage of his career, could be the eventual centrepiece of the Toon’s feats.

He has recently been heralded as “Baby Kaka” by one journalist, with the legendary Brazilian and former Ballon d’Or, World Cup and Champions League winner one of the most graceful and technically gifted players to ever take to the pitch.

Having enjoyed an illustrious career, notably with Real Madrid and AC Milan, Kaka has been heralded as a “magician” by his compatriot and all-time phenomenon Pele, and if Veiga can harness the prestigious former star’s aura, he could bring an unprecedented slice of sorcery to Newcastle, who begin a chapter tantalising greatness.