Bruno Guimaraes to Newcastle: Box-to-box midfielder can bolster Magpies' survival bid

Newcastle have completed the signing of Bruno Guimaraes from Lyon, for an undisclosed fee; Brazil midfielder signs a four-and-a-half-year deal; Arsenal were also interested in 24-year-old, who has been watched closely by Man Utd and PSG

bruno guimaraes

Newcastle United have finally landed Bruno Guimaraes, a midfielder with all the attributes to spearhead the Magpies' push for Premier League survival.

The Brazil international has signed a four-and-a-half-year deal at St James' Park, joining from Ligue 1 side Lyon for an undisclosed fee. He will wear shirt number 39 - the number of the taxi once driven by his father.

With the deal finally completed, Sky Sports' Jack Wilkinson explains why the qualities Guimaraes will bring to Eddie Howe's squad at St James' Park are not in question…

A defensive midfielder with attributes to venture forward

Defensive midfielder Bruno Guimaraes needs no invitation to venture into opposition territory
Image: Defensive midfielder Bruno Guimaraes needs no invitation to venture into opposition territory

Guimaraes moved to Lyon in January 2020 and went on to play 295 minutes in their run to the Champions League semi-finals, as the French club famously beat Italian champions Juventus and then English champions Man City before being knocked out by eventual winners Bayern Munich in the last four.

Guimaraes' heatmap from that Champions League campaign illustrates he is a defensive midfielder by trade, but also a player with the attributes and hunger to venture forward whenever the opportunity arises.

In addition, his combative qualities have been right up there with the best in Ligue 1 this season, where he ranks fourth for duels won, eighth for tackles, and is joint-sixth for possession won in the middle third.

Guimaraes ranks 25th for possession won back in the attacking third, an impressive additional quality for a defence-minded midfielder which speaks volumes for his ability to press all over the pitch.

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The box-to-box brilliance of Guimaraes

Bruno Guimaraes in action for Lyon against PSG's Kylian Mbappe
Image: Bruno Guimaraes in action for Lyon against PSG's Kylian Mbappe

Guimaraes, who has been capped at international level by Brazil, comes into his own when his attacking qualities are examined. Not limited to merely carrying out defensive midfield duties, he is as effective in the opposition half and attacking areas, if not more effective.

Guimaraes tops the ranking in Ligue 1 this season for passes completed in the opposition half and sits joint-top with Marseille's Dimitri Payet for passes completed in the final third.

For context, Paris Saint-Germain's attacking stars, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi, rank fourth and fifth, respectively, for this metric.

Bruno Guimaraes is as effective in the opposition half and attacking areas, if not more effective.
Image: Bruno Guimaraes is as effective in the opposition half and attacking areas, if not more effective

The ability to find defence-splitting passes is illustrated by his high number of completed passes and chances created, while Guimaraes' fouls won, and touches statistics show there are few more effective carriers of the ball than the Brazilian currently playing in France.

When you combine Guimaraes' attacking and defensive qualities it's clear Newcastle have identified a midfielder with genuine box-to-box qualities, a rare find at the best of times, let alone during a notoriously difficult January window which could be the difference between Premier League safety and relegation.

What type of player is Guimaraes?

South American football expert Tim Vickery told SSN:

"It's probably to Newcastle's advantage that Bruno Guimaraes is with the Brazil team... There's no way Brazilians can really know what a big club Newcastle are.

"They're sleeping giants, so with the Brazil squad he is surrounded by Premier League players, and I'm sure he's pumping them for information.

"First of all, he's a big character. When people look around and see he's in the dressing room, that's good news if you're at the bottom of the table. He steps up and is not afraid of it.

"He's also very versatile. He's got a good engine and is very competitive. The minus is that it's a lot of money, which is not Newcastle's biggest problem at the moment and also for a really top-class midfielder, you wonder if he moves the ball quick enough.

"He's developing, he's ambitious and intelligent. I feel he's got a lot to offer."

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