The January transfer window gives license for all kinds of crazy links to signing players that will never happen.
It also gives oxygen for nonsensical reasoning as to why players will or won’t be signed.
This current window is already doing my head in and it is only a few days old, I worry what my mood by the time I start drinking again in February after my customary January off the booze.
That is, if I didn’t have absolute faith in the judgement of Rafa Benitez.
That isn’t to say that he is guaranteed to get every decision/transfer right (I already think the likes of Sels, Diame, Hanley and one or two others, are maybe not going to cut it). However, buying/loaning players isn’t an exact science and along with Keegan and Sir Bobby, Rafa will be duped by the odd duck egg.
However, what is laughable is when I hear the media/pundits talking about the rationale for Rafa’s (likely) upcoming signings.
Much of the talk is about covering for Jonjo Shelvey’s absence and the three Newcastle players who are away at the African Cup of Nations.
These aren’t issues that will influence Rafa’s transfer decisions one little bit.
The United boss isn’t going to recruit players based on the next couple of weeks.
For one reason, he will be looking far longer-term than that, whether it is the entirety of the 21 Championship games that still remain, or further than that and into next season and beyond.
As a second reason, this summer showed that Rafa Benitez won’t bring players in one day and chuck them in the next. Look how much care he has taken with the likes of Gamez and Lazaar after arriving from abroad, or others such as Clark, Yedlin and Atsu who had to wait for their chances after settling in.
The reality of course is that Jonjo Shelvey is set to be available again after one more Championship match (Brentford on 16 January).
Similarly, the three internationals have their final group games on 23 Jan (Senegal/Diame), 24 Jan (DR Congo/Mbemba) and 25 Jan (Ghana/Atsu).
They could be free after Newcastle have played only Brentford (16 Jan) and Rotherham (21 Jan), whilst the following Championship match against Brighton on 28 January is almost guaranteed to be postponed. If either Newcastle or Brighton get through to the FA Cup fourth round then there won’t be a match then between the top two and with the south coast club home to lowly MK Dons it looks guaranteed, whatever happens with NUFC at Birmingham.
Even if any of the international trio get through to the quarter finals then they are played on 28 and 29 January, meaning the players could/would be back for QPR on 1 February unless progressing to the semi-finals.
Rafa Benitez will not be thinking of buying players in the coming days/weeks and wondering how they will get on playing against Rotherham in two weeks time. The promotion from the Championship won’t be won or lost this month, it will be over 21 games and over 90% of those are set to be played after this month has been and gone.
Relax and enjoy the signings Newcastle are set to make for the long-term, as well as the shorter-term.