In Dwight Gayle and Matt Ritchie I think we have signed two really good players who should excel in the Championship. Gayle especially has the snapshot instincts and pace we were lacking so badly last season and I’m glad we have addressed that position in the Newcastle squad so quickly.
I have never seen goalkeeper Matz Sels play but obviously it’s a case in Rafa we trust; you know with Benitez any player signed is for footballing reasons and that he has a clear idea of what he wants.
We’re looking very healthy in the goalkeeping position and it may well be a case of Tim Krul or Rob Elliott being let go.
I’d be surprised in a way if a club was to pay big money for Krul after such a long lay-off but maybe a move away would be best for all concerned; he’s an adopted Geordie and has given some brilliant performances but I think things did go a bit stale.
The laugh he was having with Defoe at HT against Sunderland after a very alarming first half gave, to me, an insight into that drive wavering perhaps and being in the comfort zone.
I do though believe we may need to address a potential height problem in the Championship. Apart from Lascelles I can’t think of many other dominant players in the air – Cheick Tiote does compete brilliantly in the air for a smaller player but I can’t think of any other strong, tall players.
This might sound very out-of-date but I think a lot of the football in the Championship is based on set-pieces and playing those very basic percentages over and over again. Any free-kick is often used to get the centre-backs forward for a ball into the box and I think a lot of teams combine this with simply concentrating on the basics such as defensive shape.
We can have the best players all we want but if we are constantly facing balls into our box towards a number of 6ft+ players, while defending with mainly shorter players (ED: Today’s signing Jesus Gamez is just under 6 ft), then it’s a simple equation which says we’re going to encounter some problems.
If we can identity and bring in a few more quality players who have that height and are strong in the air then it would balance the Newcastle squad out very nicely.