News this morning that Rafa Benitez is hoping to bring in five Newcastle United signings as early as possible ahead of the new season.
Never has there been such a small window between league seasons and with the Championship kicking off in only 69 days time, action is needed ASAP.
The Chronicle report that they understand that as well as loan signings, Rafa Benitez hopes to buy five new players, having agreed his transfer budget with Mike Ashley.
The report also claims that Rafa Benitez is considering bringing in a ready-made Captain to lead the club back to the Premier League.
Moussa Sissoko ended the season with the Newcastle United Captain’s armband but it surely must be massive odds against the player still being at Newcastle when the Championship kicks off.
He would undoubtedly be an asset despite his tendency to go missing in recent Premier League seasons, plus many Newcastle fans would get a perverse pleasure out of seeing him in the second tier after his past Champions League comments and agitating for a move, but I can’t see Rafa Benitez keeping a player who will surely be very unhappy if he is forced to stay.
When staying on last summer, Sissoko hinted that agreement had been reached on him leaving in summer 2016 after the Euros in France and with the player turning 28 in August 2017, I think the player himself will undoubtedly see this as the time to leave.
Whilst there have been noises since Rafa announced he would be staying, I can’t see Sissoko or Wijnaldum remaining at Newcastle, particularly as they will be two players who would bring in significant transfer funds for Rafa Benitez to invest in his own players.
I think a lot of supporters will be interested in both the age of any permanent Newcastle United signings and where they have come from – the expectation surely must be that we will not be seeing 20 year olds from France, Belgium, Holland etc.
Whilst the intention is to bring in players early, I think realistically we might have to be patient this time around. Yes we have Rafa and Newcastle are now a big fish in a smaller pond but the reality is that intended targets may be holding out to see what Premier League options are available before agreeing any move to Tyneside.
So with 25 days of the transfer window still to go after the Championship starts on 6 August, it could be a case of players arriving after a handful of matches have already been played.
Maybe it will be more a reliance on loan players coming in early, as it has increasingly been the case for Premier League clubs to send players out on loan for a full season, both to ban a decent fee and to give promising players a platform of a full season to bring them on.
With Newcastle indicating friendly fixtures are unlikely to be a part of the training camp in Ireland, we could see far fewer pre-season friendlies than normal.
You can’t imagine Rafa Benitez wanting any friendlies within the week leading up to the first league game, so any friendly fixtures could be confirmed to the two weeks after the return from Ireland on Saturday 16 July.
With so little time to work with, I fancy the plan will be that most of the starting eleven in August will be players retained by the club this summer, with maybe the odd extra player brought in but the main focus on the best quality possible to replace the likes of Sissoko and Wijnaldum.
A goalscorer with pedigree and/or potential is surely the main additional player that will definitely be added.
Some key dates:
22 June (24 days time) – Championship fixtures released
28 June (30 days) – Newcastle players return to start pre-season training
1 July (33 days) – Transfer window opens (A little confusing as some sources are claiming it is actually 9 June when the window is opening this time)
9 July (41 days) – Pre-season training camp in Ireland for a week
6 August (69 days) – Championship season kicks off
31 August (94 days) – Transfer window closes