With Newcastle securing the signing of Jacob Murphy and appearing to be chasing a loan deal for Liverpool’s Sheyi Ojo, options out wide are clearly a priority for Rafa this summer.
You get the feeling Newcastle will look at another winger in addition to Murphy; so what options do we have currently in the squad and who else may arrive?
Ritchie had a great last season and looks set to be one of the first names on the team sheet next season. One of the problems he often had was being double marked last year with a real lack of threat coming from our other flank, despite the efforts of Gouffran – who has recently signed for Turkish side Goztepe. A similar threat on our other wing should help the balance of our attacking threat, helping Ritchie maintain his success at Newcastle as he gets another crack at the Premiership.
Signed permanently following his loan deal last summer, Atsu has good attributes but needs to be more consistent to make a starting slot his own. He finished the season strongly, capped by an excellent free kick at Cardiff. Good dribbling and pace, he could be used as an impact sub by Newcastle next season. He is a good option to have but we also need more depth if we are to get the quality Rafa wants next year and with Gouffran leaving, he looks a good addition to the squad.
After practically missing the whole of last season, Aarons is back fit and produced an impressive display against Hearts at the weekend, hitting the woodwork twice. He exploded into the first team with some impressive cameos and clearly has ability. I don’t think Newcastle can bank on his fitness though and like Atsu, could be a really useful impact player next year. He may even be loaned out if more wingers arrive, which might be a good thing for him to get regular game time under his belt and develop his durability.
The new £12m man had a good tournament for England at the under 21 Euro’s and after breaking into the first team last year, finished the season with 9 goals and 6 assists in the Championship. This form, and perhaps scoring in both meetings against Newcastle last season, has caught the eye of Benitez and Newcastle. Highly promising he may be but with any young player there is a risk and patience required. If he can make the step up, we could see him used down the left, with his direct style likely to offer a goal threat cutting in on his right foot.
A loan deal for Liverpool’s Sheyi Ojo remains on the radar and perhaps Newcastle will still try and re-visit the deal for Townsend from January. Middlesbrough speedstar Adama Traore has also been confirmed as a target in recent weeks. It is an area Benitez clearly wants investment in.
I personally feel we need a Primer League proven winger like Townsend on board, who then can be supported by the likes of Murphy, Ritchie, Atsu and Aarons. That would give us some nice balance and also options in reserve.
Let us know your thoughts on Newcastle’s wide men and who you would like to see arrive this summer?