Newcastle's 18-month dawdling laid bare as Valon Berisha stars

Newcastle United Manager Rafael Benitez during the Premier League match between Fulham FC and Newcastle United at Craven Cottage on May 12, 2019 in London, United Kingdom.

Newcastle United missed out on Kosovo star Valon Berisha.

Kosovo's midfielder Valon Berisha (L) passes England's defender Michael Keane as he celebrates scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying Group A football match between...

Kosovo's unbeaten run has ended at 15 games, but they certainly gave England a scare in Tuesday night's 5-3 thriller at the St Mary's Stadium.

Having beaten the Czech Republic 2-1 on Saturday, Kosovo went into the game in great form, and took a first minute lead as Michael Keane gave the ball away to Vedat Muriqi, and he teed up Valon Berisha to score.

England replied with five goals before half time, but Berisha was at it again as he left Keane stood still with his movement, took down Muriqi's cross, cut back in and fired the ball past Jordan Pickford.

 

Kosovo pulled another one back through striker Muriqi's penalty, with both he and Berisha really thriving against the England defence – and Berisha's display was particularly interesting given prior links to Newcastle.

In 2018, The Chronicle reported that Newcastle had been tracking Berisha with Red Bull Salzburg for a whopping 18 months, with Rafael Benitez keen to sign the playmaker to bolster his attacking options.

However, Newcastle's dawdling – for more than a year – saw them lose out to Lazio, and fans have been ruing the missed opportunity to sign him after seeing him star for Kosovo.

England's midfielder Jordan Henderson (L) crosses the ball past Kosovo's midfielder Valon Berisha during the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying Group A football match between England and Kosovo at...

Injury problems held him back last season, but he's back fit and firing now, and he showed against England that he can be an attacking force against top opposition.

The window of opportunity appears to have passed for Newcastle with Berisha now, but having seen him excel again England, it may be worth keeping him on the radar for a January move.

Newcastle fans have a right to be frustrated given that the Magpies chased him for so long but failed to sign him, and their mistakes was laid bare in front of fans last night with his superb performance.

Newcastle United Manager Rafael Benitez during the Premier League match between Fulham FC and Newcastle United at Craven Cottage on May 12, 2019 in London, United Kingdom.

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