DeAndre Yedlin is set to become Rafa Benitez’s ninth summer signing. He will join Matz Sels, Dwight Gayle, Matt Ritchie, Jesus Gamez, Isaac Hayden, Grant Hanley, Ciaran Clark and Mohamed Diame in players who have made the move to Tyneside this summer.
The 23-year-old USA international will sign on the dotted line for a reported fee of around £5million. He has 43 caps for the USA international team to date and most recently plied his trade for Sunderland, where he made 23 appearances in total.
With Daryl Janmaat’s departure for Watford confirmed earlier today and lingering doubts over Jesus Gamez’s match fitness, it is a like for like replacement.
It seems Benitez has added a player who will bring much-needed pace to a team that has lacked just that in previous seasons. With Yedlin only being 23, he has his best years ahead of him and Rafa will be looking to improve a player who caught the eye at the 2014 World Cup.
To find out more about DeAndre I spoke to Smith (@MJS_23) – a lifelong USMNT and Newcastle United fan, who provides a great insight into what we can expect of Yedlin.
1. Being a USMNT fan you will know Yedlin well, what is your opinion on his imminent move to Newcastle United?
I think it’s a great move for him. He needs to be on the field and playing and Newcastle will give him that chance. I think the fans will love him. He is an exciting player with a lot of pace and strong attacking instincts.
2. Any word on his attitude? What type of professional is DeAndre?
From all accounts in US soccer, and from his college days in Akron (a small town in Ohio), he is a pretty low key guy. He is known/seen to spend a lot of his time in the gym, training and staying fit. He has never had an issue with a teammate or a coach and has never had an off the field issue.
3. Back to his ability on the field, does he have any weaknesses?
Yes – overall defensive technique and feel. He is young, so that is developing. You look at some world class full backs and world class strikers, they are always in the right place at the right time – he isn’t quite there yet. However, he does cover some of that weakness with his sheer pace. He might struggle with an attacker who has similar pace, or perhaps against a team with real discipline, but for the most part, he won’t be exposed.
4. What’s your best memory of him in a USMNT shirt?
He came on against Portugal in the 2014 World Cup as a fairly unknown young commodity that Klinsmann included. Yedlin took it down the field and crossed it in for the goal that gave us a 2-1 lead. That speed and exciting play was cool for a fan watching a young guy. Look for the YouTube clip of that and hopefully, he can do that in a black and white shirt.
5. Why do you think Benitez identified him as a target?
I think it’s a ‘’value pick’’. He’s a guy with first line talent – he’s a bit raw but Rafa fancies himself as a good coach. I’m sure he believes he can help develop Yedlin into a top player. How many other right backs with first team World Cup experience (for a top-25 nation) were available at a fair price?
6. Is there anything else you think Newcastle fans should know about?
I’d say to be excited. Whatever they may think of the USMNT, Yedlin is supposed to be a big part of our future, and should develop into a solid player for when we get back up into the Premier League. I think it’s a win win for player and club.
Also, he always has a cool haircut.
So there we have it. It looks like we are getting a player who has plenty of potential and its over to Benitez to unlock that potential.
Yedlin will bring pace and determination to Newcastle’s promotion bid this season and is likely to play a key role this season with the departing Janmaat bringing his two-year stay on Tyneside to an end.
Yedlin is unlikely to be the last signing of the summer with Benitez still chasing a winger and two strikers.
I’d like to thank Smith for taking the time to help me with this piece.