Newcastle have suddenly found themselves becoming the 2nd best team in the Championship by the minute, with Brighton and Hove Albion fast turning to league favourites with their seemingly flawless performances.
Benitez definitely won’t be satisfied with his side’s current results and position on the log, and anything apart from winning the Championship in the course of securing instant promotion back to the top-flight will be seen as an underachievement.
Despite getting off to an amazing start in the division and leading for the majority of the first half of the campaign, Newcastle now finds themselves close to the playoff spots. And getting back on track must be occupying Benitez’s thoughts for the majority of the time right now.
Here are 3 things the Spaniard needs to do in January to ensure the Magpies stay in the title race that’s gradually getting out of their reach.
Sign a defensive midfielder
Benitez has around 3 more weeks left before the January transfer window ends, and if there is a section of his squad that needs additional leg(s), it’s the defensive midfield.
The team has been heavily reliant on former Swansea star Jonjo Shelvey, and he has been their most important player. His ongoing 5-match ban has proven that, as they won only 1 of the next 3 games he missed, and clearly they don’t have enough quality in depth in that area.
The pair of Hayden and Colback have been deployed in his absence, and the latter has been largely underwhelming. Rangers midfielder Josh Windass, and Porto box to box midfielder Hector Herrera, have both been identified as winter transfer targets.
Getting either of them will do Newcastle’s campaign good for the rest of the season, as Shelvey won’t be always available to bail them out.