Eyebrows were raised when Newcastle United parted with an initial £40m in January to pry Anthony Gordon away from Everton. The versatile forward had more yellow cards than he did goals when turning out for the Toffees last season - six cautions and three goals - and he was perhaps the definition of inconsistent.
Granted, it was to be expected. Most young forwards are.
However, most young forwards with fewer than 10 Premier League goals to their name aren’t moving for £40m plus an additional £5m in add-ons.
Fast forward 10 months though and that fee is beginning to look like a bargain. Gordon was the match-winner for the Magpies in the 1-0 victory over Arsenal this weekend. It was a result that saw them move to within four points of the top-four.
The goal was a controversial one but that shouldn’t detract from the Newcastle No.10 being in the right place at the right time. It was his fourth effort of the campaign and he already has two assists to his name meaning he’s matched his career-best haul from 2021/22 and we’re only just into November.
Gordon is justifying the price tag. He’s also staking a claim to be included in the next England squad. The 16-cap England under-21 international scored against Liverpool earlier in the campaign and is second behind Callum Wilson (7) for goal involvements for the Magpies this term with six.
Only Kieran Trippier (7.42) has a higher WhoScored rating (7.36) within the Newcastle squad while Gordon ranks 11th in the entire Premier League this term for average rating. He’s consistently performing to a high level for the Magpies and that should be acknowledged.
Gordon ranks second within the Newcastle squad for big chances created (5) and Expected Assists. He’s managing to combine being a goal threat with being a creative menace.
If Gareth Southgate is picking his squad on form, few can match what Gordon has done this season. Yes, Bukayo Saka has one more assist to his name but the Arsenal No.7 is without a goal involvement in his last four appearances for the Gunners. Marcus Rashford scored for England in their win over Italy during the October international break but the Manchester United forward has just one goal and one assist in the Premier League so far this term.
The 22-year-old Newcastle winger is in better goalscoring form than Raheem Sterling and Jack Grealish. These aren’t exactly comparable players given they play the wide forward role differently and their strengths vary, but Gordon is playing to a high level and that should not be overlooked or ignored. Jarrod Bowen forced his way into the reckoning with his showings for West Ham so there’s no reason the one-time Everton winger shouldn’t be part of Southgate’s plans.
Gordon offers a bit of everything. As previously mentioned, he’s a dual threat in the final third. He’s also a stress reliever, averaging over 4.3 progressive carries per 90 this term. He is successful with 43% of his attempted take-ons, too. He impresses at finding space between the lines and this is backed up by his 7.27 progressive passes received this season.
Without the ball, he’s been integral to Newcastle being able to suffocate their opponents. He ranks considerably well for tackles, interceptions and blocks when compared to other forwards in the Premier League. There’s a relentlessness to his game that makes him a perfect fit for a modern-day forward in an ultra-aggressive, physical team. While England look to dominate the ball, there will be situations in which they need to ramp up the pressure and having someone as tactically disciplined and energetic as Gordon could be a difference-maker for the Three Lions.
The more he plays this season, the more the transfer fee looks to be on the low side.