The confirmation of Rafa Benitez staying at St James Park has sparked/coincided with a number of press stories ahead of the summer transfer window, linking various players with moves to Newcastle.
Newcastle being linked to speculative transfer targets is hardly a new phenomenon but when there was the ongoing uncertainty about Rafa’s position, it appeared to bring at least a temporary halt to the usual deluge.
With no confirmation of who would be manager, which also brought with it doubts on the direction United would take…and even the possibility of a repeat of summer 2009 when Ashley refused to allow any players to be bought, little wonder that we were spared many of the usual links to players.
The last 24 hours though have seen the four below put forward as possible Rafa Benitez signings:
Will Hughes (July 2013)
Lewis Cook (May 2015)
Lewis Dunk (June 2013)
Ross McCormack (June 2014)
What it suggests to me is that the media haven’t really got a clue as to which direction Rafa Benitez will go with when it comes to signings.
The dates after each player are the earliest I can find when Newcastle United were originally linked with them, in the case of Hughes and Dunk, it is three years ago.
These are all experienced Championship players who have enjoyed various levels of relative success at that level, so they may well be players who could potentially interest somebody hoping to get out of the second tier.
However, they have all previously been reported as possible signings targeted by Graham Carr, so it all sounds a bit lazy just bringing up the same old stories/players.
Benitez may well still use Graham Carr in some capacity but I have a feeling that the Manager will have very clear ideas himself of the type of players he will want to bring in and rely on.
If I was a gambling man, I think we could see a number of relatively high profile loan players coming in, including maybe some of them on deals that include the possibility of a permanent transfer.
The likes of Swansea have recently shown that there is value in the Spanish market, as Rafa Benitez also did when at Liverpool. So I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Rafa using his contacts/expertise to sell the club to players in his homeland, with an expectation of promotion at the first attempt.
When you see somebody like Ross McCormack (turns 30 in August) supposedly having a release clause of up to £13m in his contract, it does indicate just how expensive shopping in England is likely to be, even with players who haven’t even played at Premier League level.
Whereas recent years have seen some trepidation at the identity of who Newcastle have signed, I now look forward to this summer transfer window with renewed optimism and can’t wait to see who Rafa Benitez invites to join him on his Newcastle United project.