The January transfer window has been a bit of an odd one for Newcastle fans.
It isn’t that supporters are taking to the streets with flaming torches demanding to know when these new signings are going to turn up, more of a growing unease that bringing in players to ensure promotion isn’t going to be easy.
I don’t think anybody thinks this current squad isn’t capable of getting promotion without extra help BUT with seven defeats already, two in the last three games, and possibly vulnerable if key players are missing, a little extra insurance wouldn’t go amiss.
Rafa Benitez has been more than honest in terms of saying he/the club have approached players to sign in January, only to be turned down.
He also says that if nobody arrives then he has no doubts promotion can still be achieved, though clearly like most supporters, he believes that extra insurance is needed.
With us now 12 days into the January transfer window, I can’t help feel that three hours of madness have really cost the club in dealing with this opportunity to bring in new players.
Going back to the potential weakness when missing key player(s), it is now three weeks since we found out that Jonjo Shelvey was having to take an enforced rest.
Safe to say that since Christmas, Newcastle haven’t looked the same team.
Despite Shelvey’s absence, we should really have expected more of the rest of the squad, as apart from Brighton, the rest of the teams in the Championship are very much of a muchness.
The weak defeats, without scoring a goal, to Sheffield Wednesday and Blackburn could be crucial in this January transfer window (even the home win v Forest maybe only came about due to the fortunate stupidity of their captain getting himself sent off).
The six lost points making all the difference to how the month would/could pan out, when it comes to attracting players.
This is how the Championship top six currently look:
42 Sheffield Wednesday
This is how it would have looked with just those victories instead of defeats against Blackburn and Sheffield Wednesday.
With a 12 point gap to third (and goal difference meaning effectively another point), not many neutrals would be seeing Newcastle as anything else but both feet in the Premier League already.
And that includes potential signings…
If Newcastle had been in that kind of strong, near invincible, position then I believe Rafa Benitez would have been approaching players and inviting them to sign now and be part of Newcastle’s return to the Premier League in August.
Instead, we are in this kind of limbo, where realistically the United boss can only sell a ‘what if…’ picture of the short to medium term.
The position isn’t hopeless (in terms of signings) but those two senseless feeble defeats have meant that Rafa will have had to re-position his transfer thinking, which will no doubt also be the case when it comes to how potential signings are thinking.
For those looking to blame somebody for what the current January transfer window position is, there are plenty of potential suspects.
Jonjo Shelvey for getting suspended, the FA tribunal if you believe Shelvey was really innocent, the rest of the NUFC squad for not delivering the results/performances that were needed, maybe even the Manager himself to an extent for his team selection/tactics.
There is no need for any drama but I do think everybody connected to Newcastle United needs a little bit of a lift and that could come from many quarters.
Positive results in upcoming games are the most obvious lift, both Newcastle games and in a secondary way, where our rivals fixtures are concerned, also the return of Jonjo Shelvey for the Rotherham match onwards.
Plus of course, the January transfer window action hopefully…