Newcastle United welcomed Manchester City to St James’ Park recently, a fixture which most fans would’ve likely chalked off as a City victory prior to kick-off.
But that’s simply not how the Magpies operate anymore, and their performance against the Champions really came off as a statement of intent.
The club have gone through a major transition in the past season, with new owners, a new manager, new players, and also a new directive in terms of the club’s operations.
While the wealthy owners are capable of splashing around limitless money at their leisure, the market approach has been relatively conservative.
The club has instead opted to spend smartly, with the aim of fulfilling Eddie Howe’s requirements while acquiring talents that will pay dividends in the long term.
And one such talent that seemingly dipped below everyone’s radar, bar Newcastle, is Bruno Guimaraes.
He arrived from Lyon for a reported sum of £35m, a figure which fails to justify just how impactful the Brazilian has been.
Ever since landing in Tyneside, the player has led the league in tackles (42), duels won (112) and fouls won (40). Additionally, he trails only Kevin De Bruyne in the department of through-balls (7).
Possessing excellent defensive coverage and tricky feet to get out of trouble, Guimaraes’s presence at the heart of Newcastle’s midfield has been a game-changer.
His display against Manchester City was similarly impressive, as the 24-year-old won 7 out of 13 duels, boasting a passing accuracy of 83%, while also drawing 3 fouls.
The mentality the Brazilian exhibits alongside his capabilities on the pitch have made him a fan favourite. And we received another sight of his stellar mentality following Newcastle’s 3-3 draw against City.
Upon joining Newcastle, Guimaraes could barely string together a sentence in English, and yet just 5 months later, the Brazilian was able to complete an interview with incredible fluency.
As seen in this post-match presser, the 24-year-old’s command of the language has increased significantly.
When asked about the impact a packed St James’ Park has on him, the Brazilian said, ‘A lot, I play here like it’s my last game in my career. I think we need to, we must give this for the fans. We try to do this when we play at home.’
An answer like that will certainly earn you adoration from fans, and aside from that, Guimaraes also earned plaudits for taking initiative and learning a new language.