During the Chronicle’s latest transfer piece today, NUFC reporter Chris Waugh has confirmed that Rafa Benitez is pushing to sign a ‘creative midfielder‘, a striker to rival Salomon Rondon and additional full-back cover in January.
Under Benitez Newcastle have proven they are solid defensively (we have the 8th best defence in the league) but lack the cutting edge going forward to really get ourselves well clear of trouble. Of course, these players are the hardest to find and the most expensive but Rafa will be looking to add to his attacking options in January, along with much needed full cover on both sides.
Here’s a snippet from the Chronicle’s transfer story today, confirming three areas Rafa plans to strengthen in the new year:
‘During the mid-season window, acquiring a creative midfielder is high on Benitez’s priority list, alongside bringing in another forward to rival Salomon Rondon, as well as additional full-back cover.’
Key to all this, as usual, will be the expectation gap between the quality Benitez wants to sign against the pitiful investment from owner Mike Ashley. We made a £21m net profit in the summer so there must be money to spend, even if it is to just cover the ‘every penny’ line Ashley wheeled out last year.
Almiron appears to be the key attacking midfielder Benitez has earmarked and despite plying his trade in the MLS, will now cost north of £20m with a host of Premier League sides now also interested. At 24, Rafa would have to sell the re-sale value to Ashley for this one, as it would certainly mean a new transfer record – something we have not done since Ashley bought the club.
In terms of centre forwards, we continue to be linked with Sebastien Haller from Frankfurt after we lost out to signing him from FC Utrecht a few years ago. Liverpool’s Origi and Solanke continue to be mentioned as possible targets, but both would cost in the region of £20m you would imagine. In-form Polish forward Piatek has emerged as a new link from Genoa in Serie A, but he only arrived there in the summer so it seems a little more unlikely – especially when several top clubs are tracking him after 13 goals already this season.
In an ideal world we would also sign a good full back who can play in both positions so there is more cover for Dummett and Yedlin, but there’s not been many named linked since the summer as of yet – and that may prove to be a good thing given the way we tend to do business.
If attacking players are the priority we may be forced to explore more low budget full back options, as Manquillo just isn’t up to the job.
Do you think there is any chance of real investment in January?