North-East report reveals the key areas Benitez looks set to strengthen this summer

There was an interesting report in the Chronicle this week, analysing where Newcastle and Benitez are aiming to strengthen this summer. In an ideal world, Benitez would be player-trading early in the window – which with the restraints of Ashley is unlikely.

Rafa reportedly wants defensive cover at right-back, a centre-back, a midfielder, a striker or two and a number ten who can act as the “brain” of his young Newcastle team.

Why are these areas key and who could we be looking at to bring in?

Right back 

Benitez has DeAndre Yedlin and Javier Manquillo as options in this area, and although the former is improving, there’s been little to suggest the latter is good enough to play at this level since he signed last summer. The signing of an experienced or proven right-back could really benefit us to bring a bit of class, quality and much needed competition to that area of the pitch.

Ideal signing: Cedric (Southampton)

Centre back

Lejeuene and Lascelles have formed an outstanding partnership and were key to our top 10 finish. However, Mbemba is clearly moving on and doubts remain if Clark is real Premier League quality. A strong 3rd centre half would also give us the option of using 5-3-2 as well as more depth.

Ideal signing: Lewis Dunk (Brighton)

Centre midfield

Shelvey and Diame have been outstanding but Merino is looking increasingly likely to leave and Hayden still needs to improve. A quality option in the middle to push Shelvey would add healthy competition to the squad and ideally a box to box midfielder so we can mix things up if needed.

Ideal signing: Badou  N’Diaye (Stoke)

Number 10

Perez shined there for the last part of the season but it is a position we have been lacking for many years. It is a key part of the formation Rafa deploys and it would be good to have someone to drive the side forward and provide better service to our front men.

Ideal signing:  Loftus Cheek (Chelsea – loan)

Two strikers

With Mitrovic and Gayle likely to be shipped out in an area where we are already weak, we need two strikers to compete next year. One marquee signing, breaking our transfer record would be ideal and another option to provide competition may be what Rafa is thinking. Perez can also play there if needed and with two strong recruits, Newcastle could be a far strong proposition next term.

Ideal signings: Moussa Dembele and Tammy Abraham (loan)

Who would your ideal signings be?

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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.

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