Silly season has well and truly begun. No end of names are being linked with summer moves to Newcastle United following our promotion back the the Premier League.
With Benitez and Ashley singing from the same hymn sheet (for now at least!) we are preparing for life back in the top flight and are expected to be as busy as anyone this summer in order to build a side capable of competing at Premier League level.
By my reckoning, well over 50 players have been linked with the club already and it’s not even June yet!
So, to bring some order to proceedings, here’s 3 players I believe Newcastle will sign this summer (partly my hunch and partly justified by their current circumstances).
It has been widely reported that Rafa Benitez is a big fan of the Fulham midfielder, who’s enjoyed a sparkling season in the Championship, notching an impressive 13 goals and 11 assists.
We lack forward thinking players (which was made abundantly clear whenever Shelvey was absent last season) and Tom Cairney looks to be just that. He looks a confident and competent footballer capable of the step up.
Cairney is understood to be keen on a move according to the Chronicle. It’s not hard to see why, given Fulham were knocked out of the play offs and set for another year in the Championship. At 26 i’d also imagine he’s keen to secure a move to the top flight while he has the chance.
Fulham will be in no mood to sell, with an extortionate fee of £20m mooted, but I believe Cairney will push for a move and a fee in the region of £12-£14m will be agreed to bring him to Tyneside this summer.
Newcastle are in the hunt for a ‘proven’ Premier League goalscorer this summer, and whilst Gray’s recent 9 goal haul does in no way make him proven, he’s shown promising signs in his debut season in the league with Burnley.
With just 12 months on his contract, this is the exact sort of player Newcastle could target this summer. Good age (25), the traits of a capable Premier League player (pace, energy, athletic) and likely to be available at a reasonable fee – with Burnley hardly in a position of power, being reluctant to lose him on a free next summer.
Englishmen in the Premier League often come with inflated price-tags (and Mike Ashley won’t be keen on paying over the odds), but Gray’s current contractual situation lends itself to a knock-down fee for United, with a £10-£12m fee being reported (a steal in today’s market for a promising English Premier League striker in their mid 20’s).
He has rejected a new contract with Burnley and, if local reports are to be believed, is open to the possibility of a move to Tyneside this summer.
Whilst Benitez’s project at Newcastle is very much work in progress, you struggle to see how Burnley could surpass the superb season they’ve just had, combined with the Rafa factor and the the prospect of a 50,000 crowd likely to appeal to him (like it did for Ritchie last summer).
Possibly the most ambitious of the three given his impressive displays last season, but one I believe we may just pull off.
Harry Maguire has been a revelation at Hull last season, being a huge part of their re-birth under Marco Silva that nearly saw them beat the drop. Benitez is believed to have identified the heart of our defence as an area for improvement and Maguire is a player he’s understood to be a big fan of according to several local reports.
With Hull City relegated, Maguire will be keen to play Premier League football again next season after looking at home in the division over recent months.
He’s a big unit but looks surprisingly capable & confident on the ball, also showing promising leadership qualities in Hull’s commendable attempt to beat the drop over the run-in. At 24 years of age he also has room to develop under the watchful eye of Rafa Benitez.
A right-sided centre-back who ticks a lot of boxes in terms of what we require alongside Ciaran Clark next season.
Spurs and Everton have been credited with an interest, which if genuine would scupper our hopes, but I believe both clubs could opt for more ambitious targets this summer, which could see us get our man.