Former Arsenal attacker turned pundit Paul Merson has credited Newcastle United’s January transfer business.
Following their long-awaited takeover at the end of last year, the Magpies, under the guidance of manager Eddie Howe, used the winter window to their advantage and signed multiple players, who in turn, helped guide the side to a remarkable mid-table finish – something which seemed virtually impossible earlier in the campaign.
Kieran Trippier joined from Atletico Madrid, Chris Wood from Burnley, Matt Target from Aston Villa, Bruno Guimaraes from Lyon and Dan Burn from Brighton and Hove Albion.
Despite Guimaraes being the star man at St James’ Park, Merson feels it is Burn who has really helped transform the Toon’s fortunes.
Writing in his Sportskeeda column about Burn, the ex-Arsenal midfielder said: “This is a player who has turned it around for Newcastle United since joining the club in January and it could be argued that his arrival coincided with an upturn in fortunes for Eddie Howe and co.
“They paid a fair bit of money to snap up Dan Burn from Brighton, but he’s an absolute giant of a defender and has been as solid as a rock.”
Burn has featured heavily for Howe. Named in 16 matches already, it is clear the 30-year-old defender has a hugely important role to play in the North East.
“He’s not very natural and elegant, but he does what it says on the box! Burn is an old-school centre-half and his arrival has turned out to be a masterstroke for Newcastle, as he played pretty much every game in the second half of the season to help them comfortably avoid relegation,” Merson added.
“I liked him when he was at Brighton, but he’s been outstanding at Newcastle. Whoever has played next to him at the heart of the defence has looked good, which is a clear indication that he is the leader of their backline.
“He’s already played a big role for Newcastle under the new ownership and has been a better signing than Bruno Guimaraes, for me.”