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Why Rafa Benitez Needs A New No.9 To Solve Newcastle United’s Key Issue – The Quality Upfront?

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Rafael Benitez

What Can Benitez Do To Solve Newcastle’s Lack Of Quality In The Final Third

Of course, Newcastle do not have much Premier League quality at all and almost all of the credit for their current position in English football is down to the world class talent that is their manager, Rafael Benitez.

Let’s get this correct right now. The man who broke through the El Classico barrier to win La Liga in Spain with Valencia, who won the Champions League with Liverpool in one of the greatest finals ever and who is still called as one of “the world’s best coaches” by Fifa is of the very highest order.

Furthermore, despite all of his exploits in the football world, Newcastle United are getting the very best of him! He is older, more experienced and more prepared than ever before to deliver a first class performance as a coach, a manager and an organiser of a football club, and the job he is doing is superb.

So, in the immediate term, there is nothing Benitez can do about Newcastle’s lack of quality in the final third as he knows he simply doesn’t possess it. This is the reason he spoke publicly about his annoyance at transfer targets not being delivered in pre-season. He knew what he had was not enough.

Matt Ritchie is bound to have an off day, as he did at Burnley, and Merino or Shelvey are bound to take injuries. In Merino’s case, this was also true of the trip to Burnley. With that in mind, Newcastle were left with precious little attacking prowess and it really showed.

What Benitez can do in the medium term, assuming money is indeed made available, is to go back into the transfer market and improve his attacking options in January and I’m sure those with dribbling ability, pace or ideally both, will be high on the list.

Who those players will be is anyone’s guess right now, but quick and skilful players such as Adama Troare, Jurgen Damm, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Nabil Fekir and Josh Murphy may all be given a second look, along with strikers such as Cenk Tosun.

People do tend to get obsessed with No.9s of course, but in Newcastle’s case, they really do need to spend a few quid and bring in a proper goal scorer. Dwight Gayle, for whatever reason, is no longer trusted as he was in the Championship while Aleksandar Mitrovic remains an enigma and Joselu plugs away admirably without even looking overly dangerous.