The mood seems brighter around NUFC as our summer recruitment drive takes shape. We of course want, and need, more additions but how do we rate the signings we have made so far?
Christian Atsu – £6m
Atsu spent last year on loan here and played his part in our title win. It made sense to make the move permeant, we know exactly what we are getting. A direct, pacey but inconsistent winger who needs to prove his top flight credentials. He may be used as an impact sub behind Ritchie and Murphy and in terms of squad depth, he is a good option to have. He essentially acts as our Gouffran replacement and has a good attitude; patiently waiting for his chance most of last season.
Florian Lejeune – £8.7m
A deal that took weeks to complete as Charnley haggled over the payment structure but appears very much worth waiting for. Highly rated at Eibar and well suited to the physical nature of the Premier League, a classy displays in pre-season has underlined what he can bring to the side. A ball playing centre half who can organise the defence will come in useful next year considering we will be setting up defensively, especially away from home. Lacks experience of English football but could be a hidden gem once he settles.
— Triad85 (@Triad85) July 27, 2017
Jacob Murphy – £10m
Murphy looks a really exciting prospect at just 22 years old. A Newcastle fan, he is direct with an eye for goal and comfortable playing either wing. We desperately needed another threat to partner Ritchie on the wings and hopefully Murphy fits the bill. His brace against Bradford showed his composure in front of goal, picking up where he left off from the under 21 European Championships with England earlier this summer. Let’s hope Rafa can help continue his rapid development.
Muprhy's first goal in black & white against Bradford tonight??⚫️⚪️⚫️ #NUFC
— Black&WhiteBarmy (@BlackWhiteBarmy) July 26, 2017
Javier Manquillo – £4.5m
Bit of an underwhelming one, even though it is low risk considering the fee. A poor loan spell at Sunderland last year means he hasn’t arrived to much fanfare but you sense he will very much be a squad player. He could be useful backup to Yedlin and also Dummett if needed, being able to operate down either flank. He was highly rated at Atletico and had a previous good loan spell at Marseille and at still 23, appears to be a gamble worth taking to add more squad depth.
Mikel Merino – Loan to buy
Merino comes highly rated and could be a shrewd addition. He was a bright prospect in La Liga before moving to Dortmund last year, and despite making just 9 appearances last season, was considered one for the future for the German giants. Still only 21 and recently playing for the strong Spanish under 21 side, he looks to have real potential. A clever centre midfielder with good vision, he likes to dictate the tempo of the game whilst not shirking from defensive duties. Tall at 6’2 and left footed, he will be a nice alternative to call upon providing he settles on Tyneside. Rafa will surely get the best out of him and he could thrive alongside Shelvey, given time.
Mikel Merino – 16/17 pic.twitter.com/xKysdzOoJ5
— John (@jbxnufc) July 26, 2017
It is a relief we now have five new players through the door but I do hope more significant and experienced players are to follow. Our gross spend so far is around £30m, not even considering outgoings, which is proving to be small change in the market these days. A marquee signing that breaks our transfer record would consolidate the feel good factor and set things up nicely for the new season.
What do you think of our new players? Who else should we try to sign?
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About Simon Riddlesden
Lifelong Newcastle United fan and East Stand season ticket holder. Observations from a supporter who has followed NUFC during Champions League participation and through relegation, taking me from Milan to Scunthorpe.