It would be an understatement to say takeover talk has gone from exciting to exhausting over the past few weeks, making continual links with the likes of Phillipe Coutinho incredibly tedious.
You may be wondering if this article is only going to add to that problem, however there’s a few realistic targets that could and should be on NUFC’s radar this summer – whether a £300m Saudi takeover happens or not.
Those four are QPR star Eberechi Eze, former Frankfurt loanee Jetro Willems, Brentford wing wizard Said Benrahma and tough tackling Toulouse midfielder Ibrahim Sangare.
Some will be demanding huge names and marquee signing after marquee signing if the Saudis arrive, but with FFP restrictions and our current Premier League status (we’re not going to be in Europe next season) likely to limit us in the transfer market, this quartet could not only offer real value for money but improve us in four areas where we lack depth:
The 21-year-old has been one of the second tier’s shining lights this season, regularly running the show in an otherwise ordinary QPR side.
A number 10 who can also play out wide, Eze is a versatile attacker who possesses quick feet, an abundance of skill and impressive technical ability and vision to go with it, weighing in with 20 goal involvements so far this season (12 goals and 8 assists from midfield).
The Chronicle confirmed recently that he was on the radar of Steve Nickson, the club’s head of recruitment, however he’s a player who we should be looking whether new owners arrive or not.
It would be unlike Mike Ashley to beat off competition to a top young English talent should an Amanda Staveley-led bid be blocked by the Premier League, but with Sky Sports claiming he’s been valued at £20m, even the current NUFC owner may realise this is a bargain waiting to be had.
The Dutch international may be sidelined as things stand with an ACL injury, but signing him on a permanent deal should be a no brainer should we see signs that he’s made a full recovery.
His performances at both ends of the pitch were superb during his loan spell at St James’ Park, with his quick feet, eye for a pass and wicked left foot combined with his decent pace and ability to contain opposition wingers making him one of the most well rounded left-back’s we’ve seen on Tyneside in many a year.
The knee injury he suffered in January is a concern, however he’s already back in the gym and looked in good shape based on the video he posted on social media to document his progress this week.
The fact he’s also so desperate to return to Newcastle United is another endearing factor, with his quality, his commitment to the cause and rumoured price tag of around £10m making him a potential bargain for a Premier League proven player who’s still only 26.
With Miguel Almiron deemed to be more suited in a no.10 role, Christian Atsu and Jacob Murphy not up to it at Premier League level, Valentino Lazaro’s future up in the air and Matt Ritchie fast becoming more of a wing-back than a winger, it’s fair to say we’re sorely lacking in quality options out wide.
Aside from Allan Saint-Maximin, we have very few natural wingers who can get bums off seats and make things happen – and that’s where Said Benrahma could come in.
The Brentford winger has shown that he’s too good for the Championship for two seasons now, following up last year’s tally of 11 goals and 17 assists with 10 goals and 8 assists this season.
He’s the heartbeat of a Brentford side that are often so exciting to watch, with his ability to beat his man and get teams on the back foot something we need more of given Saint-Maximin has often been tasked to do it all on his own at times this season.
They’d want at least £20m, however I believe the Algerian will soon prove he’d worth every penny if and when he seals a deserved move to the top flight.
While some never rated him, it’s fair to say we’re still yet to replace Mo Diame – a player who was able to shields our defence, break up the play and then carry the ball forward with some powerful runs.
He didn’t do the latter quite as much as he got older and became more of a midfielder spoiler more than anything, but we’ve missed both his physical presence and ability to win midfielder battles this season.
In comes Ibrahim Sangare – the imposing Toulouse midfielder who could provide the long-term answer to that problem.
While I don’t claim to be a regular watcher of French league football, he stood out in a poor Toulouse team and looked an impressively well rounded whenever I’ve seen any of their games on BT Sport over the past few seasons.
He’s offers a real presence at 6ft 3′, along with impressive defensive numbers, but what often stood out to me was his ability to also carry the ball and pick a pass, suggesting he could be an IDEAL cut-price alternative to Lille’s Boubakary Soumare – a similar type of player, yet one we almost signed for £35m plus back in January if he hadn’t turned us down.
With Toulouse also hit financially by COVID-19, it could be the ideal time to pounce on Sangare – a player who not only looks made for the Premier League but can offer the traits this Newcastle midfield often lacks.
Signing all four may seem unrealistic under Ashley – especially when a striker will be top of our wish list – but there’s a trio of signings I believe could be realistic options; whether we head into the transfer market with new owners or you know who.
Irrespective of the takeover result, which players would you like to see us look at this summer?