Former England international Paul Robinson has backed Brentford forward Said Benrahma to give Newcastle United the attacking edge we currently lack under Steve Bruce.
Benrahma has emerged as a potential summer target for Bruce, after the boss sent the club’s scouting department to watch him in action during the Bees’ 3-2 win over Middlesbrough earlier in the month.
The 24-year-old was not involved in either of Brentford’s goals that day, but notched his ninth of the Championship season on Tuesday night as the Bees drew 1-1 with promotion hopefuls Leeds United. He has also been credited with six assists over his 28 appearances.
Reports have suggested that Toon chiefs like what they see in the three-time Algeria international and could offer £15million to lure him away from Griffin Park, though Brentford were said to have demanded £30m amid top-flight interest ahead of last summer’s transfer window.
It remains to be seen if the club formalise our approach closer to the end of the campaign, but Robinson is fully supportive of a pursuit as he believes Benrahma could be the spark which ignites a much more pleasing offence.
“He looks sharp, he looks good in front of goal,” Robinson told Football Insider “He knows where the goal is, he scores goals and it’s what Newcastle need.
Would Benrahma be a worthwhile signing?
“They haven’t had that cutting edge in front of goal. As well as they’ve got results at times, it’s not been pleasing on the eye, defending resolutely without having that attacking impetus.
“A player of that quality could give them that.”
Robinson’s support of a pursuit from Benrahma does not go without substance, as the 24-year-old has shown himself to have no difficulty in creating chances to stretch his tally for Brentford this season.
Per WhoScored data, only Leeds striker Patrick Bamford (110) has taken more shots this league season than Benrahma (107), who also leads the second-tier for efforts taken from outside the penalty area (66).
Bruce’s first-team are far from as confident to test their luck from range in the Premier League, with Jonjo Shelvey our leading attempt taker from outside the box with 20 of his 25 shots.
Benrahma has also played the fifth-most key passes in the Championship with 64, made the second-most successful dribbles (101) and currently holds the division’s third-best average match rating on WhoScored (7.41).
In other Newcastle United news, a £20m midfielder’s agent has confirmed his client would consider joining the Magpies this summer.