Newcastle fans had to be patient but now that the transfer market has clicked into gear, Rafa Benitez appears to have positioned Newcastle United perfectly.
As no doubt you are aware, Gent goalkeeper Matz Sels (Sells Mats?) completed his move on Wednesday, whilst Dwight Gayle is expected to be announced today after flying in for his medical yesterday afternoon.
Rafa said that once things started moving we could easily see two or three signings within a week and Matt Ritchie is heavily reported to be on the verge of making it a trio of signings.
Until anybody was actually signed, we could only ‘rely’ on the guesswork of the media as to what kind of profile of player Newcastle would be aiming at.
The big bonus of course was that not only had control being removed from the failed Graham Carr experiment but that we also had such a talented and experienced figure in Rafa Benitez, now dictating the direction of the transfer policy and overall strategy of the club.
Still early days and I have no doubt we are going to see numerous comings and going in these next two months – but the transfer moves so far, already tell us a lot.
Taking Sels, Gayle and Ritchie together, all three are older than any of last summer’s five signings.
As for whether Rafa/Newcastle were going to be going for ‘Premier League standard’ or Championship proven, both boxes appear to be ticked.
Obviously Matz Sels hasn’t played in either yet but after distinguishing himself in the Champions League and helping Gent through to the knockout stages last season, the Belgian international will surely be of a level to handle the Championship – with also the potential of then doing the same in the Premier League.
Whilst with Ritchie and Gayle, they have already done the business in the second tier and have shown some signs on a limited number of starts (Ritchie 33 and Gayle 27) that they aren’t out of their depth in the Premier League.
So three players certainly suited to the here and now, plus potentially capable of better than the Championship.
Contrary to what our enemies (other fans and media) might say, Newcastle supporters know exactly where we are positioned, at least for the coming season. Nobody seriously expecting the targets speculated previously, to be the same ones we would potentially be signing this summer.
A minority of Newcastle fans are getting a little carried away with the over-hype of the media to embellish this trio of signings that will hopefully be completed this week.
No harm done if you do believe it but when there are claims that Matz Sels turned down Premier League clubs in favour of signing for Newcastle, we have to be realistic. It doesn’t diminish him signing but it is obvious he has been assured that he will be Newcastle’s number one this coming season, whilst if there was serious interest from Premier League clubs, it would surely only have been initially to come in as a number two.
Likewise, there are some that want to believe Matt Ritchie turned down a move to West Ham recently and would rather sign for Newcastle in the Championship.
This isn’t the real world, so much has fallen right for West Ham with a great manager, promising season suggesting better ahead, signings that have worked out and a brilliant (paid for by us – the taxpayers!) stadium to move into – no way the Scottish winger would have turned them down to come to Tyneside – if indeed he does complete a move to Newcatsle as appears very likely.
These things aren’t negatives, it is more an acceptance of reality and the great thing is that it appears Rafa Benitez is pitching for exactly the right kind of players. Those who have shown ability and gained experience but still with time on their side and almost certainly the hunger & ambition to see that they can be part of an exciting Rafa project as Newcastle bounce back.