Newcastle United have signed five players so far this summer, with Florian Lejeune, Christian Atsu, Javier Manquillo, Jacob Murphy, and Mikel Merino brought in by Rafa Benitez.
Fair to say that the £30m or so that has been spent is far less than anticipated by most Newcastle fans but has Rafa managed to bring in some better players than their price tag suggests?
FourFourTwo magazine have looked into the summer window transfer dealings of all 20 clubs and when talking about Newcastle United, say:
“One of the advantages of having a high-profile manager like Rafa Benitez in charge of your newly promoted club is the access he gives you to players who would otherwise be out of reach.”
They add that Rafa is able to go for and persuade better players than say a ‘Steve McClaren or John Carver‘. A statement that not many Newcastle fans would disagree with!
Picking out their 12 smartest transfers of the window, Newcastle’s Mikel Merino is rated highly:
12 – Vicente Iborra (Sevilla to Watford)
11 – Will Hughes (Derby to Watford)
10 – Ahmed Hegazy (Al Ahli to West Brom)
9 – Steve Mounie (Montpellier to Huddersfield)
8 – Tiemou Bakayoko (Monaco to Chelsea)
7 – Kurt Zouma (Chelsea to Stoke)
6 – Javier Hernandez (Bayer Leverkusen to West Ham)
5 – Mikel Merino (Dortmund to Newcastle)
4 – Jairo Riedewald (Ajax to Crystal Palace)
3 – Roque Mesa (Las Palmas to Swansea)
2 – Mohamed Salah (Roma to Liverpool)
1 – Sandro Ramirez (Malaga to Everton)
FourFourTwo (to read their full feature go HERE) write-up on Mikel Merino:
‘One of the advantages of having a high-profile manager like Rafa Benitez in charge of your newly promoted club is the access he gives you to players who would otherwise be out of reach.
Newcastle have plenty going in their favour besides their current boss, but landing Merino from Borussia Dortmund would have been tougher under, say, Steve McClaren or John Carver.
Able to play at centre-half, as a deep-lying playmaker and in a box-to-box midfield role, the 21-year-old Spaniard completed a season-long loan move to St James’ Park last week.’