'He's a maverick': The 'exciting' player attracting interest from Newcastle United

Does Steve Bruce need a "maverick”?

Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 12:00 pm

That word was used to described Ademola Lookman by Karl Robinson, his manager at Charlton Athletic.

Newcastle United have been linked with a loan move for the winger, who left Everton and joined RB Leipzig last summer in a £22million deal.

Bruce is looking to strengthen his attacking and midfield options in this month’s transfer window – and the club, which is 13th in the Premier League table ahead of Saturday’s game away to Wolverhampton Wanderers, has been looking at the loan market.

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Lookman is a talented player, but it didn't work out at Everton after a scoring debut against Manchester City. And, up to now, it’s not worked out for him at Leipzig. A loan with an option to buy has been mooted.

Is Bruce the man to get the best out of the 22-year-old?

Certainly, Marco Silva didn’t get the best out of Lookman at Everton. Speaking in March, Silva said: “I keep believing 100% in his quality as a football player, but what I want to see is the same desire coming from him each day to achieve that, to reach that level he wants, and the level I believe he can play at.”

The Guardian reported last July that “tactical indiscipline and a lack of defensive effort were contributory factors” to Lookman’s lack of football at Everton – he was omitted from a number of matchday squads – and eventual sale to Leipzig.

Ademola Lookman.
Ademola Lookman.

Rafa Benitez, Bruce’s predecessor, would always looking for tactical discipline in any signing.

Bruce, however, wants his team to play with more freedom, and the impact the absence of Allan Saint-Maximin, another maverick, has had on his team over the past month underlines why Lookman is a target.

Lookman had come to prominence under Robinson at Charlton, where he “came alive” on the pitch.

Speaking after he joined Everton in January 2017, Robinson said: “He’s a real diamond, shy and introverted, but put him on the pitch and he comes alive.

Steve Bruce.

“He’s a maverick. He does stuff you don’t expect, his movement patterns are different, and he’s an exciting, young English kid. He gets on the ball, and you think ‘something’s going to happen here’.”

Ademola Lookman playing for England's Under-21s.