Nolberto Solano remains a cult hero on Tyneside. Making 230 appearances and scoring 37 goals across two spells with the club, Solano was an integral part of the Newcastle team that challenged for the Premier League title in the early 2000s.
And now, Newcastle fans may have found the next Peruvian playmaker to take to their hearts.
Rodrigo Vilca is reportedly on the verge of signing from Deportivo Municipal for around £250,000.
With disarmingly boyish looks and a background in South American football, it’d be easy to compare Vilcar to Santiago Munez of the risible Goal trilogy. Odds on Vilcar dating Anna Friel have yet to be published.
While the 21-year-old would appear to be unknown to everybody outside of his own family, Newcastle fans should look no further to read about their latest acquisition.
Vilcar is considered to be one of South America’s most exciting young talents.
The Lima-born player has spent three years playing for Deportivo Municipal, after progressing through the club’s youth system. His technical ability, particularly the skill of driving at defenders with the ball, is considered one of his primary assets.
He has scored three goals this season, as Municipal look to put last year’s relegation worries behind them.
‘Attacking midfielder’ has become a generic term, one that is increasingly archaic in the modern game. While Vilca has been described as such, evidence from his appearances for Deportivo Municipal suggests he is capable of playing in numerous different roles.
Fielded as a creative number ten, slotted into central midfield or capable of producing from either flank, it would seem as if Vilca could be moulded into one of many roles by manager Steve Bruce.
Versatility is almost used as a backhanded compliment in football circles, but this ability should hold Vilca in good stead.
The former Geordie hero has played an increasing role in the footballing development of his compatriot.
Now working with the Peru U23 squad as coach, Solano has been instrumental behind young Vilca’s inclusion in the senior Peru squad. After recently making his senior bow, increased exposure in European football will not harm Vilca’s chances of international success.
If Vilca were to sign for Newcastle, it would make him the sixth Peruvian to play in the top flight of English football. The others were the aforementioned Solano, Claudio Pizzaro at Chelsea, Andre Carrillo for Watford, Ysrael Zuniga for Coventry City and Burnley goalkeeper Diego Penny.
What a list.
With six goal involvements in ten games this season, there is no doubt that Rodrigo Vilca possesses the talent to have a chance playing in Europe.
However, Newcastle officials have some concerns over the Peruvian’s physical suitability for the notoriously strenuous English game. Seeing as the playmaker is only 21, this need not be an impenetrable barrier to success.
In the meantime, Newcastle are reportedly looking to loan Vilcar out straight away in order to get experience playing in European conditions.