Super Eagles star striker Kelechi Iheanacho is currently trending across many online football news portals who are linking him with a move to Newcastle United ahead of the 2020/21 English Premier League season. The Magpies, who are expected to have a new owner by the start of next campaign, are said to be monitoring the situation of the Leicester City forward with a view to securing his signature. Still at the earliest stages, it is not sure whether a formal bid will be tabled for Iheanacho. Indeed, neither the club nor anyone formally associated with it has officially confirmed their interest in the centre forward. Also, no one formally linked to Leicester City has confirmed this speculation. However, going by the theory of 'no smoke without fire', one can offer an opinion as to whether this move will be potentially beneficial or detrimental to Iheanacho's club and national team careers if it indeed materialises with him deciding to take the leap of faith.
Newcastle United: good or bad move for Iheanacho? I stand to reason that Iheanacho should not think twice if the Magpies come calling. I believe it has the potential of being one of his best career-move to date; one that can propel him to a revered centre forward of supreme quality in the next 3 to 4 seasons in England's top flight. My reasons are presented below: Less competition: whereas Iheanacho has had to compete for a place with England's Jamie Vardy at Leicester and Argentina's Sergio Aguerro plus Brazil's Gabriel Jesus at Manchester City (all sterling strikers and accomplished goal getters), he is expected to have no such problems at Newcastle. Currently, Iheanacho has scored more goals across competitions this season in England than each of Newcastle's strikers. His 10 goals compare more favourably with the likes of Newcastle's Miguel Almeron (8 goals), midfielder Jonjo Shelvey (6 goals), Joelinton (4 goals), Alan Saint-Maximin (4 goals) and Dwight Gale (3 goals). Newcastle strikers are neither the calibre nor stature of the sort of strikers Iheanacho has had to contend with in Manchester City and now Leicester. So, on current form, he should be able to claim a place consistently in the Magpies' starting 11. Style of play: Steve Bruce side often plays a lone strike with a support striker/advance attacking midfielder close behind. This approach suits Iheanacho well as he can either claim the centre forward or support striker slot. Either way, his vast experience in the Premier League in those 2 positions means he should have little hassle cementing a space up front in Newcastle.
Possible return to midfield? : a lot of Super Eagles fans long for the day Iheanacho will be returned back to where they see as his natural habitat which is a midfielder in the mould of Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne. Iheanacho shone like million stars in Under-17 football for Nigeria where he showed calm, composure and character with his vision to set up many goals and score some of his own as a merciless midfielder. With 27 year old Englishman Jonjo Shelvey as Newcastle's standout midfielder, the temptation might arise to experiment with Iheanacho in a centre/attacking midfield position. If this happens and Iheanacho shows promise, he might eventually revert back to his original position and make this his own with powerful performances reminiscent of Kevin De Bruyne's passing and scoring efficacy.
Other possibilities: Iheanacho can still play as a right or left attacking midfielder or even a less mobile winger whose acceleration, vision, attention-to-position and ability to pick out delicately delicious passes can reap rewards for his club. In short, a move to Newcastle United can help unlock Iheanacho's versatility across multiple positions up front.
Conclusion: For me it's a no-brainer. Newcastle United will be an ideal location for Iheanacho to continue his career revival that began with Brendan Rodgers input in Leicester. With the Magpies, the 23 year old can either go on to consolidate his reputation as a top quality centre forward/support striker or potentially re-invent himself as a veritable attacking midfielder. This season in the English Premer League the young West African, who has thus far played 18 league games, has 9 goals involvements in them (5 goals and 4 assists).
His other goals and assists have come in cup competitions.