Newcastle United have secured the signing of Brazil international Bruno Guimaraes from Lyon for a fee that could reportedly rise to a club-record figure.
Guimaraes has agreed a four-and-a-half-year contract at St James’ Park having completed a medical while away with Brazil on international duty.
Newcastle are reaching the end of their first transfer window under new ownership, with the club now backed by a consortium led by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).
The PIF has become the sport’s richest owner, yet Eddie Howe’s side have been frustrated for much of January in their bid to improve a struggling team.
Newcastle are 18th in the Premier League, a point shy of safety, but had targeted this month to invest in the playing squad and pull clear of trouble.
Kieran Trippier arrived early on from Atletico Madrid in a major coup, only for attempts to land a centre-back to prove frustrating – neither Lille, for Sven Botman, nor Sevilla, for Diego Carlos, agreeing to deals.
While Chris Wood was added in attack, Newcastle remain at the centre of attention in the final throes of the window.
The arrival of midfielder Guimaraes therefore represents a significant boost to Howe and the owners after ultimately successful negotiations with Lyon.
Reports at the start of the week suggested a fee between £30million (€36m) and £33.3m (€40m) had been set and a transfer was imminent. However, Lyon “categorically denied” these claims.
Instead, a subsequent agreement said to be worth £35m (€42m) was reached, with bonuses potentially boosting the amount to £41.6m (€50m). That would surpass the £40m Newcastle spent on Guimaraes’ compatriot Joelinton.
What does Bruno bring to the Toon?
With only Wolves starting attacks closer to their own goal this season than Newcastle (39 metres on average), Guimaraes will have a key role in converting defence to attack and getting the Magpies further up the pitch.
The 24-year-old has played 226 passes into the final third in Ligue 1 this season – more than any other player. Jonjo Shelvey leads Newcastle in this regard with only 100.
Guimaraes has three assists to Shelvey’s zero, while he ranks third in Ligue 1 (behind Dimitri Payet and Kylian Mbappe) with 33 chances created from open play.
Crucially, Guimaraes can be a player for both the team Newcastle hope to be and the position they currently find themselves in.
Third among Ligue 1 midfielders for both passes attempted (1,329) and completed (1,170), the new man would fit seamlessly into a dominant, possession-based side.
However, Guimaraes should also be up for the fight, winning 158 duels this term – tied for the fourth-most in Ligue 1.
New team-mate Joelinton, converted into a midfielder under Howe, is third in the Premier League with 150 duels won and leads the division with 92 since the coach’s November appointment.