How Newcastle United’s attack might line up with Dennis Praet In The Team
Newcastle United, badly in need of some positive news after a dreadful transfer window thus far and two bad results, look close to landing Sampdoria midfielder Dennis Praet for a fee of £12.8million.
Praet has no goal scoring record to speak of but he does like to be played as an attacking midfielder and may well be deployed in the central role behind the striker, much like what Rafa had in mind for Fulham’s Tom Cairney.
The former Anderlecht man starred last season in Serie A, making 32 appearances in the league in all competitions and raising his transfer value. He is still within Newcastle’s reach, much to the relief of Rafa Benietez and if signed in time, he could fit into a 4-4-1-1 formation looking something like this:
RW – Matt Ritchie
Magic Matt is so far having nowhere near the impact he did in the Championship, which was expected to a certain extent, though he didn’t enjoy playing down the left at Huddersfield. When employed in his rightful position and with one or two better players around him, the magic shall return.
LW – Christian Atsu
It is far too early to abandon the “in Rafa we trust” mantra just yet, but from a personal point of view, I’d rather see Rolando Aarons in this position. That said, Atsu has shown improvement during his time at the Toon and definitely has a cool finish on him. So more chances will be coming his way.
CAM/SS – Dennis Praet
This will most likely be Praet’s position and although he has been far from prolific thus far, the fact that he can play deep, right in the centre, behind the striker or even down the left means he is ideal for Benitez’s tactic. The former Liverpool boss has spent a year-and-a-half searching for someone for a Steven Gerrard-type role and Praet’s fitness and versatility alone could mean Rafa has found one at last.
ST – Dwight Gayle
The former Crystal Palace man was excellent in the Championship last season and may yet be replaced by Joselu should his form not improve. However, every time he has been given a chance, he has taken it. So for now, he should carry on at number nine.
Premier League coaches have described Gayle as a proper natural finisher so before too much scorn is poured over him this term, we need to see him given enough goal scoring chances. The Toon have been light on that score so far.