I have to say that I’ve found it both entertaining and bemusing to see some of the Newcastle transfer stories going around in recent days.
Before discussing the players in question, what I would say first, is that I’d be amazed if Rafa sold anybody in January who has been involved in any significant way so far this season.
With promotion the only aim, it would be bizarre for the Newcastle Manager to consider trading anybody who he thinks will be some use in the next five months.
As for the transfer stories, there have been two players who have featured most prominently. With claims that Liverpool are supposedly coming in for Jamaal Lascelles and Crystal Palace to bid for Paul Dummett.
One is the Newcastle Captain and the other Newcastle’s only left-back – at least until either Lazaar or Gamez show they are up to it in England.
Where the stories start is always hard to tell but they get repeated so many times and without any real critical analysis.
This season the only thing that matters is having players good enough to do the job of getting Newcastle out of the Championship and both Dummett & Lascelles are clearly showing they’re more than good enough, along with the vast majority of other squad members.
However, what about the bids/interest in Dummett and Lascelles?
Well, if Premier League players are desperate to buy in January, it is because they want to bring in players who can instantly improve their team, whether they are competing towards the top, or fighting relegation.
Jamaal Lascelles is doing a good job but there is no way Liverpool would be throwing him straight into the team, having only played a handful of Premier League matches.
As for Paul Dummett, he is a bit of a steady Eddie, finding his level and holding his own in the Championship but having regularly struggled in the Premier League for Newcastle in the past. He wouldn’t be transforming Palace’s dodgy defence.
If you did really believe that scouts are coming to Newcastle on behalf of Premier League clubs, then surely they would be then be looking at other more obvious players.
Ciaran Clark has been Newcastle’s best defender by a country mile, plus he has played almost his entire career in the top tier.
Others such as Shelvey and Hayden in the middle of the pitch are looking a class above their opponents, with the same being able to be said about Dwight Gayle and his 16 goals from 15 starts.
Personally, I would add Karl Darlow to the list of ready-made Premier League players, he was outstanding at the end of last season and was so unlucky to be left out at the start of this one to accommodate Matz Sels.
The transfer stories are ludicrous surely, not because Lascelles is or isn’t good enough for the Premier League, but because there is no chance of Newcastle selling and NUFC have got players playing better stuff this season than the players who are linked with a transfer.
For now though, the best thing is that whichever player they use to sell newspapers ahead of the January window, we know that Rafa Benitez won’t be selling – unlike the nonsense we had to put up with under Alan Pardew.
In January, my only expectation is that Rafa Benitez will be looking to add the odd player who can do it in the Championship and potentially perform in the Premier League, not selling them.