It’s safe to say the 2018-19 campaign could have gotten off to a better start for Newcastle United. Rafa Benitez’ men have gotten off to a dreadful start, and there is a real chance the Magpies could be staring at potential relegation just two years removed from their promotion back into the Premier League. Newcastle picked up three points from their first ten matches of the season, which is an absolutely dreadful return.
Newcastle are far too big of a club to be struggling through relegation battles. This is a team that should be spending to compete for titles in the top flight, not a team that should be fighting for its life. Regardless, this is where they are at the moment, and supporters will just have to fight through it with the hope that the club can once again establish itself as one deserving of a good reputation.
You don’t need a long list of betting tips to know that Newcastle are facing an uphill climb in the second half of the season. Getting out of the bottom-three after the start they have endured won’t be an easy task by any means, but it’s far from impossible. Perhaps some reinforcements could help Newcastle fight back.
The winter transfer window isn’t too far away. If the Magpies are still mired in the aforementioned relegation battle by the time the calendar flips to January, who are some midfielders Benitez (if he’s still in the job) could target in the transfer market?
Oliver Burke (West Brom)
If the Magpies don’t want to fork over as much as it would cost to land a player of Wijnaldum’s caliber, perhaps they could instead be in the market for a younger prospect. Newcastle have reportedly already had their eyes set on West Brom winger Oliver Burke. Most expect West Brom to sell the 21-year-old during the upcoming winter window, and this is a prospect in which Newcastle should certainly have interest.
West Brom are hopeful that they can return to the Premier League next season after being relegated last term and getting a nice haul in exchange for a player like Burke makes plenty of sense. The Baggies are wanting to acquire some additional funds so that they can spend to fortify the squad, and Burke may be the odd-man out. Newcastle reportedly have interest, and they have apparently sent scouts to take a look at the Scotland international.
West Brom signed him last summer for about £15 million following a spell in Germany with RB Leipzig. Leipzig signed Burke for about £13 million after he impressed during his time in the Championship with Nottingham Forest. A move away from West Brom would give Burke the chance to return to the Premier League early, and a move to Newcastle would give him a chance to revive his career. Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton & Hove Albion are a couple of other Premier League sides that reportedly have their sights set on Burke.
Valon Berisha (Lazio)
Like Burke, Berisha is a guy that has been linked with a move to Newcastle in the past. The former Norway international was reportedly a target of the Magpies for the better part of a year and a half, but no deal ever came about. He was a consistent source of intrigue for Newcastle while he was plying his craft at Salzburg, but he ultimately moved to Italy with Lazio this past July.
Could Newcastle renew interest? It’s certainly possible. Berisha has made just two appearances in Serie A for his new club this season, both of which were cameos as a substitute off the bench. He also made an appearance as a sub in a Europa League clash, but he is still waiting his turn for more regular football.
Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that Lazio would sell the player so quickly after he signed. If Newcastle are to make a renewed push for Berisha it may have to wait until next summer at the earliest. There’s a slim chance Lazio could be tempted to send Berisha to England for a loan spell in order to get some more regular playing time, but that remains to be seen. Regardless, Newcastle are familiar with the player. A young attacker of his quality would fit in quite nicely in Benitez’ side.
Aleksandr Golovin (AS Monaco)
If you watched any of this past summer’s World Cup in Russia, you’ll likely remember Aleksandr Golovin. The Russian side was one of the biggest surprises at the event, and Golovin was right in the middle of everything. The youngster was able to parlay his excellent showing into a move from CSKA Moscow to AS Monaco over the summer. Arsenal were another club that reportedly had interest.
Still only 22, a move for Golovin obviously wouldn’t come cheap. That said, Newcastle aren’t some small-money club. If the Magpies want to be serious about getting back to being among the elite clubs in England, they will have to start spending like it sooner or later. It’s incredibly difficult to build a winning club while refusing to invest big money into the squad. The addition of Golovin at some point over the next year wouldn’t necessary put Newcastle over the top, but it would be a step in the right direction.
We know Monaco are a selling club. We saw it two years ago when they parted ways with the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Bernardo Silva and others. Even if Golovin winds up struggling in his first season with Monaco, Newcastle should use next summer’s window as a potential buy-low opportunity. Even a loan spell would do the trick.
Alassane Plea (Borussia Monchengladbach)
As was the case with Berisha, Newcastle had previously registered their interest in Alassane Plea. The club even went so far as to reportedly offer £20 million for the former Nice midfielder, but German side Borussia Monchengladbach ultimately won the race for his signature.
Unlike Berisha, though, Plea has taken little time to get used to his new squad. The 21-year-old Nice native has already found the back of the net 5 times in six total appearances for Monchengladbach, including two as a substitute. At this point, Plea has given Monchengladbach no reason to regret their decision to pay about £25 million for him. Should things start to go south, Newcastle should renew their interest. Seeing him enjoy so much success in the Bundesliga has to be painful for Newcastle supporters, especially considering how close he came to coming to St. James’ Park over the summer.
Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool)
Georginio Wijnaldum spent a successful campaign with Newcastle during the 2015-16 season before the club was ultimately relegated. Rather than toiling in the Championship, the Dutchman pushed for a move to a bigger club. So, in July of 2016, Newcastle sold Wijnaldum to Liverpool for a reported fee of £23 million.
Since then, Wijnaldum has gone on to enjoy a couple of productive campaigns at Anfield, though he hasn’t been able to duplicate the success he found with Newcastle. The 27-year-old has scored 8 goals in 78 appearances with the Reds after finding the back of the net 11 times in his one campaign with Newcastle alone. The player played a regular role in Jurgen Klopp’s midfield last season, but his spot was in question over the summer after Liverpool signed the likes of Fabinho, Xherdan Shaqiri and Naby Keita.
Fearing that his rotation time could take a hit, reports indicated that Wijnaldum would not reject a move over the summer. Klopp ultimately decided to keep him in the fold, however, and he has wound up playing fairly regularly for the Reds as the team has endured a few injuries in midfield. Still, if Liverpool get a bit healthier in midfield, might they look to sell a guy like Wijnaldum if he stops getting regular rotation minutes?
A move back to Newcastle wouldn’t be the worst thing for him. He was pretty clearly comfortable at St. James’ Park, and he likely only left in the first place because the team got relegated. Wijnaldum returning to Newcastle and helping the club stay in the Premier League during the second half of the campaign would be a nice story, and it’s not totally out of the realm of possibility.