Two More Positions Newcastle United Desperately Need To Strengthen
Newcastle United have had a difficult summer transfer window, following the confirmation of their return to the Premier League. Manager Rafael Benitez was intent on strengthening the squad immensely ahead of next season, but one after the other, they have seen their targets slip out of their hands.
However, there was some good news for the fans as earlier this week, the Magpies completed the signing of England U-21 star Jacob Murphy from Norwich City for a reported to be around £12.5million (Independent). Murphy becomes the third transfer for the club, following the arrivals of winger Christian Atsu from Chelsea and defender Florian Lejeune from Eibar.
However, the work is far from done for Benitez and Newcastle. If they are to put up a strong showing upon their much-awaited return to the top tier, there are still a number of areas that need reinforcements and at the earliest. Here we pick out two areas that need to be bolstered by the Magpies, ahead of the new season.
Most fans would agree that Newcastle need a new striker. While Dwight Gayle set the Championship ablaze last season – his first with the club, finishing as the second highest goal-getter in the second tier with 23 goals, Benitez doesn’t have any other reliable option to call upon, if Gayle becomes unavailable due to some reason.
Aleksandar Mitrovic has failed to hit the heights he was expected to and endured another difficult campaign last time. And with third-choice Daryl Murphy also set for an exit – after it was reported by Sky Sports that Newcastle have agreed to sell him to Nottingham Forest for £2million, there are not a lot of alternatives in the squad. And taking into factor that Gayle’s record in the Premier League during his Crystal Palace days isn’t something to rave about, a new centre-forward is a must for the Magpies.
Another key area that needs significant strengthening is the central midfield. While Jonjo Shelvey is an automatic starter in the middle of the park, the second pivot position is somewhat of a concern for Benitez. Last season, he relied on Isaac Hayden and the former Arsenal man delivered the goods. But he remains untested and unproven in the Premier League.
As backup, Newcastle have Jack Colback, who hardly offers anything valuable to the team and then there is Mohamed Diame, who doesn’t infuse the fans with trust and confidence either. Plus a lack of suitable backup for Shelvey too is a matter of concern for the Magpies. For them to be able to put a strong challenge, it is extremely important that at least one central midfielder is brought into the club, before the transfer window slams shut.