With news on a potential takeover stalling, us having riches to spend in January is appearing more and more unlikely.
While terms between Ashley and PCP are being thrashed out, Rafa will be thinking about ways he can strengthen the squad with a limited budget. Who in the current squad may be sacrificed to raise much needed capital for some much needed additions in January?
The Serbian hitman has been a regular topic of debate this season and after wit us crying out for a striker, his days look numbered. With Joselu dropped it appeared to be his big chance against Chelsea but he was again overlooked. Rafa clearly doesn’t see a future for him at the club and the problem we face is after a lack of football, his stock may have considerably fallen. We wouldn’t be surprised if he finds a loan move come winter time to make way for a new striker on the wage bill.
It has been an odd season for Mbemba so far, as he has been used sparingly in an unfamiliar left back role. With Dummett injured, no one has really claimed the role. Despite being back in the side recently, you just feel he is not in Rafa’s long term pans either. He can’t get a game in his favoured position even when Lascelles in injured so again expect a departure soon; which is a shame after showing such early potential.
Gayle has returned to the XI after being dropped most of the season and has returned the favour with goals in both the defeats at Old Trafford and Samford Bridge. It is likely that ideally Rafa would like to keep Gayle but with finances so tight unless the takeover materialises, he would be the obvious one to move on to raise funds for a new striker. Trying to sell him at the end of the summer window was a sign of where he stands too. We’d only let him go if a replacement is lined up, but don’t be surprised if he is sold, with Rafa clearly reluctant to fit Gayle into his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation. Offers from ambitious Championship sides could arrive.
With Eliott’s form dipping, Darlow has been drafted back into the side the last few games. Like Gayle though, he remains an asset we could sell and one Benitez is not entirely convinced on. Rafa clearly wants an experienced keeper which would surely signal the end for Darlow. With Cillessen, Casillas, Casilla, Reina and Adrian all recently linked, Darlow could be one to raise funds for Rafa to bring in his own number one in January.
Diame just hasn’t really delivered since arriving at Newcastle. He looks a shadow of the powerful attacking midfielder we thought we had signed. He doesn’t contribute enough going forward, goals or assists wise, and struggles in a deeper role. With a number 10 surely another priority for Rafa to source in the New Year, Diame could be surplus to requirements. He still has a good reputation for a Championship side to sign, with Aston Villa and a reunion with Steve Bruce mooted.
Gamez came in for our away win at Swansea and looked very assured at left back. But like his overall stay on Tyneside, has not been trusted in the side really since. His contract expires in the summer and at 32, you would be surprised if it was renewed. He is reportedly one of our higher earners, so a low transfer to get him off the wage bill in the New Year may suit all parties; especially with Dummett back and fit.
Only one striker would be sold, but this lot could raise at least £30m – a considerable amount to be spent on improving our starting 11 when you consider that most of the above have had little impact on the first team this season.
Is there anyone else you would move on to raise funds?
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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.