Next month’s 9th August deadline is now looming large and there’s still so many deals that could do with being done both in and out of NUFC – with up to NINE still needing to be sold (or loaned out) and Benitez said to be keen on securing up to ‘five or six’ new signings.
Now, the latter comment probably has you laughing given it’s taken us a couple of months to activate a release clause (Dubravka), sign a freebie (Ki Sung-Yeung) and secure a loan deal (Kenedy), but The Chronicle, The Guardian and The Times have insisted over the last few days that Benitez is still pushing for a at least one striker (Rondon?), an a attacking midfielder, plus cover in central midfield, centre-back and full-back.
At least that’s what we wants anyway. What he will be left with come 5pm on August 9th is an entirely different matter! I’m not even going to attempt to suggest who he might want in each of the above positions, but George Caulkin reckons he’s after FIVE more after Rondon – as ambitious as that sounds.
Then to outgoings – and, in an ideal world, there’s another six or seven who could really do with being moved on.
Mbemba and Mitrovic’s moves (to Porto and Fulham respectively) appear to be all but done, however there’s still a number of players we’ll be looking to shift.
I’d be shocked if Armstrong and Aarons are still here in a few weeks time. Both will probably end up leaving on loan (meaning Benitez’s budget may receive no boost here), but I think permanent moves would be sanctioned for both if the right offer arrived.
Then to midfield. Hayden has handed in a transfer request (although I don’t see that being sanctioned unless we secure a replacement in advance), but Saivet is another who needs to go. Like Colback, he’ll probably head out on loan yet again, but this will leave is pretty light in centre-midfield – with Shelvey, Diame and Ki being the only settled first-team options at Rafa’s disposal.
Longstaff doesn’t look far off being ready to mix it at first-team level, but I think Benitez would far rather see him playing week in week out in the Championship than sitting on the bench as our 4th choice central midfielder?
At the back we’re pretty light on numbers as it is, with Gamez and Haidara released and Mbemba all set to leave, however full-back flop Achraf Lazaar is someone who would be stealing a living if we didn’t manage to move him on. He’s not even been included in first-team training this summer, so
Then to goalkeepers – an area where we have far too many players on our books. Dubravka is the clear number one, but Darlow, Sels, Elliot and Woodman are all knocking about. We’re clearly pushing to flog Sels (with very little success so far) and I expect Woodman to be loaned out once again, leaving Darlow and Elliot to provide competition for Dubravka.
So, that’s up to 15 deals that could do with taking place in and out of NUFC. How many we see happen (especially when it comes to incomings) between now and next month’s deadline will be telling.
Who do you see coming and going over the next 20 days?