Even though Newcastle could well be in a perilous position by the time the January transfer window opens, it’s rumoured that manager Rafa Benitez will once again not be backed financially, with a ‘sell to buy’ policy in place.
We all know this is ridiculous considering our £21m net profit from the summer – and the lack of clarity from the club in addressing this has gone is likely to push Rafa towards to the exit door come the summer, unless something changes in January.
He is professional until the end though, so just which players might be sacrificed or better suited for a move elsewhere to bring in space for some much needed arrivals? Here is who we think might face the axe…
The former Chelsea winger has been awful this season, certainly his worst in black and white to date. When given playing time he has offered nothing going forward, has lost the ball and actually made us look worse after coming onto the field – Manchester United last week being a prime example. The Ghanaian needs fresh surroundings and clubs in Europe would still take him for around £4m, giving us the chance to find a better replacement.
Unfortunately the likeable Irishman just isn’t a Premier League player, proven by spells at both us and Aston Villa. He works hard, had a great attitude and thrives in the Championship but struggles in the top flight. By January Lejeune will be very close to returning, stocking us well at centre back with Lascelles, Schar and Fernandez – not including the fact Dummett is also able to play there. I can see a Championship side paying a few million for him and was linked with a move back to Villa last summer, one to watch for sure.
Let’s face it, no one is getting in ahead of Dubravka while he’s fit, the Slovakian has been a revelation for United. Darlow will want first-team football and a Championship move could well happen. We could get £3-5m and would be left in good hands with Elliot and Woodman providing more than adequate cover. A return to Forest or a move to Middlesbrough has been mooted.
He doesn’t want to be here due to personal issues and his performances have shown that. Rafa turned down his transfer request and was repaid with a silly red card at Cardiff that should have cost us. It was reported in the summer that Brighton were willing to pay £10m for him. If we got anything close to that it’d be superb business – especially when we need players up for the fight.
Achraf Lazaar / Rolando Aarons
The former is clearly out of Rafa’s plans and keeping him at the club is a waste of a large wages, reportedly to the tune of £35k a week. Lazaar spoke out this week claiming he respects Rafa’s decision but it is best for all concerned if moves on as soon as possible
Come January Aarons will be back from his loan move in the Czech Republic and he’s another who seems to have no future under Benitez. We’d not get much for either, but both will be cutting frustrated figures, so best to move them on. It is a shame Rolando hasn’t worked at Newcastle after such initial promise but the lack of takers for him on loan in the UK shows just how far his stock has fallen.
Is there anyone else you think could be moved on and replaced to help shape up the squad in the winter?