After a painfully disappointing deadline day, Benitez and ourselves have little other option but to take stock and go with what we’ve been given, and while our recruitment drive has came up woefully short, there’s a few of the six signings who may offer more than we first anticipated.
On first impressions, it looks like Florian Lejeune and Mikel Merino are very shrewd buys, however I believe the following three players – who fans were initially underwhelmed at signing – have shown glimpses to suggest they could be more than useful buys too:
The Spaniard may have arrived from Spanish giants Atletico Madrid but two rather unsuccessful loan spells at Liverpool & Sunderland had seen many question his signing. The 23 year old has surprised a few so far with some assured displays, carrying the ball well & linking up nicely down the right.
There’s been the odd defensive lapse, but he looks to have a potential blend of composure & confidence. For a former Spain U-21 international who can cover both full back positions, the £4.5m deal could prove to be a shrewd one.
The Ghanaian ended the Championship season with a flourish but its fair to say he was hit & miss for most of last season. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why several fans were sceptical of his ability to make the premier league step up – especially given he’d always failed to make an impact in the top flight during forgettable loan spells at Everton & Bournemouth.
As many of us had observed, he looked very sharp over pre season & whilst he hasn’t set the premier league alight thus far, there’s been plenty flashes of his newfound confidence in promising displays against Tottenham & West Ham. I don’t expect him to pull up too many trees, but the early signs are good.
The former Stoke striker does not arrive with a particularly prolific goal scoring record & is another whose arrival underwhelmed many, but there were some welcoming signs during his home debut against West Ham. He held the ball well, looked strong & linked the play intelligently, grabbing an all important goal to boot.
He’s another who Benitez has been forced to take a punt on, but also another who arrives as a relatively low risk signing & one who could thrive under Rafa’s guidance. I’m not expecting 15 goals plus, but he could turn out to be our Daryl Murphy of the Premier League?