Bruno Guimaraes stars for Newcastle as FA Cup offers tangible reason to snub £100m PSG offer

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Joined: Nov 2016

Bruno Guimaraes gets it, and bloody loves it. But will the guy who sat on a pedestal above Sunderland be given good reason to stay at Newcastle? The FA Cup might just do the trick.

An eight-year wait that saw the two clubs wave at each other as they swapped divisions, before one watched from the third tier while the other was bought by the richest owners in world football, gave rise to a Wear-Tyne derby in which emotions were running particularly high, even before Newcastle lost seven of their last eight to ramp up the pressure on Eddie Howe, and the Sunderland interior decorators added a sprinkling of extra spice to proceedings.

Bruno Guimaraes rose above the frenzy, controlling the game from a pedestal, lowering himself when required to demonstrate he can fight in the trenches with the best of them.

As his roaring and pumping of fists having blocked a Sunderland clearance early in the second half illustrated: not only does he get it, he bloody loves it.

His ball down the line for Joelinton in the lead up to the opener was one of countless perfectly-weighted passes, all seemingly played with a different square centimetre of one of his boots. There was one delightful ball over the top that Miguel Almiron volleyed just wide of the far post as the Brazilian proved to be the consistent creative thorn in Sunderland’s side.

Almiron was excellent too, winning an incredible nine of the ten tackles he attempted (more than the rest of his teammates combined), including the key steal from Pierre Ekwah to set up Alexsander Isak to double Newcastle’s lead. But his speed to break the lines was made all the more threatening by Guimaraes’ ability to deliver a pass onto a dinner plate from 50 yards away.

It’s that sort of quality on the ball, combined with his tenacity off it, that makes him one of the most sought-after central midfielders in world football, and means Newcastle – despite their ludicrous riches and hopes for the brightest of futures – will have to fight tooth and nail to hang on to him.

Reports of his new contract suggest there’s a ‘secret Barcelona clause’, which would allow Guimaraes to leave on the cheap should the La Liga side come calling. Even if the cash-strapped Catalans fail to come up with the smaller sum, Paris Saint-Germain will pay the £100m release clause – the going rate for top central midfielders.

FFP rules are preventing Eddie Howe and Dan Ashworth from building a squad to match Guimaraes’ ambition. Despite a comfortable 3-0 win over their bitter rivals, this has been a humbling season after the highs of 2022/23.

Newcastle United knock Sunderland out of the FA Cup.

Improvement at a rate in keeping with the last campaign would surely have been enough for Guimaraes, but the prospect of at least one season out of the Champions League will mean the host of teams lining up to offer him that carrot will be hard to turn down.

It’s also a lot of money, or rather a lot of delicious book value for the FFP boffins, which would allow Newcastle space to buy two or three players, and may get them to where they ultimately want to be faster.

It would never feel right to sell your best player, but ask Aston Villa fans now how they feel about selling Jack Grealish for £100m. Short-term pain can lead to long-term gain.

And make no bones about it, despite a brilliant 2022/23, Newcastle are still a ways off a title challenge. They’ve not won a domestic trophy for 69 years, FFS.

They’re a step closer to ending that drought after what turned out to be a very comfortable win over Sunderland, thanks in large part to Guimaraes, who may now be a de facto Geordie, but will need a trophy, or some other tangible sign of progression, to stop him moving to a club where such things are guaranteed.


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