With Newcastle sat second-bottom of the Premier League, signings in January are a must, and the latest name being linked with the Magpies is Ousmane Dembele.
A handful of top talents have been touted with a move to Newcastle in the January transfer window.
Kieran Trippier has joined Eddie Howe's side as their first signing of the month, and Burnley striker Chris Wood is on the brink of completing a switch to St James' Park from Turf Moor.
With Dembele out of contract at Barcelona in the summer, there is a fantastic opportunity for Newcastle to make an attempt in bringing the Frenchman to Tyneside as their marquee signing in January, just five years after the winger joined the Spanish side from Borussia Dortmund for £135.5m.
Injuries have plagued Dembele's career since he joined Barcelona in 2017, limiting the 24-year-old to just 126 appearances in four and a half seasons.
The winger may be looking for a fresh start elsewhere in the transfer window, whilst Barcelona may want to get the Frenchman off of their wage bill and cash in this month with the club still in massive debts – even after the departure of Lionel Messi.
The Magpies have the funds to complete the move for Dembele after their £305m takeover, and it's looking likely that additions will need to be made this month to try and guarantee Newcastle's safety in the Premier League.
So, to find out if Dembele could have any sort of immediate impact at Newcastle, we simulated the rest of the season with Dembele signing for the Magpies in January, and this is what happened.
We 'signed' Ousmane Dembele for Newcastle in January 2022
To set up this simulation, we used the Football Manager 2022 editor to arrange for Dembele to join Newcastle at the start of the upcoming January 2022 transfer window, using FM22 to run the simulation.
This is how Dembele's in-game profile looks on FM22.
How do you think Newcastle could do if they signed Dembele in the January transfer window? Let us know in the comments!
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Described by the media as an elite winger, Dembele arrived on Tyneside with an incredible profile, with his stats making him the highest-rated player at Newcastle.
The Frenchman's acceleration, flair and dribbling are all rated 18 out of 20, whilst his pace and agility are rated at 17 out of 20, with his physical stats some of the best in the league.
Let's take a look at how Dembele performed throughout the second half of the 2021/22 season after signing for the Toon in January 2022.
The 24-year-old had an outstanding first few months at Newcastle, with the winger averaging a rating of 7.71 in all competitions – by far the best rating in the whole Magpies squad.
In 16 appearances, Dembele grabbed four goals and seven assists in all competitions, with half his goals and seven of his assists coming in the league where he averaged a rating of 7.79 per game.
At the end of the 2021/22 season, Football Manager 2022 put together an overall best Newcastle XI, based on performances, statistics and other metrics.
Below is what Newcastle's best XI looked like at the end of the 2021/22 season as predicted by Football Manager 2022.
Full Newcastle best XI: (4-2-3-1): Dubravka; Manquillo, Lascelles, Clark, Lewis; Hayden, Willock; Dembele, Joelinton, Almiron; Saint-Maximin.
Dembele was put into the Newcastle best XI on the right of the three attacking midfielders, being joined by Miguel Almiron and Joelinton behind Allan Saint-Maximin.
Compared to his fellow midfielders, Dembele was the outright best player despite making fewer appearances.
Only Almiron tallied more goal contributions than Dembele throughout the season in all competitions, but only one more despite over double the amount of appearances as the Frenchman.
Along with having by far the best rating, the winger also grabbed the Player of the Match award four times – double what any other winger won.
So, how did the Magpies perform in the league and FA Cup after signing Dembele in the January transfer window?
Newcastle's results from the 2021/22 simulation
Dembele's strike in the FA Cup fourth round wasn't enough to send Newcastle through, with the Magpies losing 3-1 to West Ham as goals from Michail Antonio, Jarrod Bowen and Manuel Lanzini knocked Howe's side out of the cup.
The league campaign was better for Newcastle though, with the addition of Dembele helping Newcastle climb out of the relegation zone and remain in the Premier League for another season.
The Magpies finished 16th in the league, ending on 35 points for the season.
That's five points clear of the relegation zone, and 24 more points than they have accumulated at the halfway point of the season – Howe will be hoping they can achieve that with or without Dembele in the months to come…
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