After a successful loan spell from Aston Villa in the second half of last season, defender Matt Targett has joined Newcastle permanently for a reported $19 million.
Targett was one of a few mid-season signings that Newcastle’s new ownership brought in to rescue Newcastle from relegation. They were in the drop-zone in January but ended in 11th, signaling high hopes for the upcoming season and in the new ownership.
Targett began his career with Southampton, making his professional football debut in 2014. After a quick loan spell at Fulham FC, Targett signed for Aston Villa in 2019.
In the 2020-2021 season, Targett was voted Villa’s Players’ Player of the Season, having been the only member of Villa to play in all 38 EPL games.
But football is fickle, and Villa’s January signing of Lucas Digne rendered Targett surplus to requirements. Newcastle, looking to bolster defense, signed the left-back on loan for the second half of 2021-22.
How will Targett fit in at Newcastle?
Targett offers Newcastle a steady presence at left-back.
Eddie Howe said, “He is a great lad and a top professional who undoubtedly makes us stronger so I’m delighted he sees his future here.”
Howe has shown that he believes in Targett, who should now have his starting position locked down. Newcastle was much better with him and other January acquisitions. The Magpies finished the season well, nearly climbing into the top half of the table.
We already know that Targett is a steady presence on both sides of the ball. He gets forward and knows how to put a good ball into the box, although he notched only two assists this season.
First, let’s be clear that Targett will probably not be a superstar in any fantasy format. His prospects depend on two things:
- Newcastle’s ability to minimize goals-against and keep clean sheets
- Will he be allowed forward?
Newcastle kept seven clean sheets in the second half of the season (and only one in the first half), which means that Targett has potential for clean sheet points if Newcastle can build on that strong finish. The Magpies struggled against top competition but remained solid against the rest of the league. Newcastle’s signing of Nick Pope from relegated Burnley will also bolster Targett’s clean sheet potential.
According to Fantrax stats, Targett was 4th best in accurate crosses by a defender, behind only Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andrew Robertson, and Lucas Digne. Maybe with some more attacking options around him, those crosses will turn into assists.
What do you think about Newcastle’s move to make Targett a permanent move? Is he someone you’re looking at?