Positive movement on Wednesday regarding the Amanda Staveley Newcastle takeover, including a reported recruitment meeting in due course, following the reported agreement that funds will be made available in January. Without jumping the proverbial gun, the question now turns to; who will Rafa Benitez choose to bring in if the takeover makes more progress?

The old adage remains that players in form for their club sides are unlikely to leave in January. That is true, which will mean any moves that are made in January are likely to be expensive in order to prise away a key player from another club.

Newcastle United are an attractive proposition to players with Benítez at the helm but are also a team likely to be battling relegation come the end of the season. Transfer targets will be forced to make a decision for the good of their careers, which will either benefit or hinder the fortunes of Newcastle.

There are a few criteria that dictate whether a player moves in the January transfer window. One of which is that he is surplus to requirements at his current club.

Last season’s winter window displayed that, as Napoli’s Manolo Gabbiadini moved to Southampton for £15.3m. Similarly, Morgan Schneiderlin made the move to Everton from Manchester United for £20.6m, along with Memphis Depay departing for Ligue 1 Lyon for a fee in the region of £14.4m, as Jose Mourinho moved on players he did not consider good enough for the club.

Another criterion for a January move is that a club is known to need reinforcements and they will actively pay over the odds for a player from a rival team. Once again in January 2017, this was evident, mainly due to Sam Allardyce’s spending spree at Crystal Palace. Big Sam spent just over £35m on Luka Milivojevic, Patrick van Aanholt and Jeff Schlupp, a sum which was twice as much than their combined believed market value at that time. Palace subsequently survived the drop but they were held to ransom by other clubs when in pursuit of the players they needed.

Likewise, West Ham United paid over the odds for Hull City’s Robert Snodgrass in a panic move to replace Dimitri Payet, forking out over £10.8m for a 29-year-old winger who failed to make any impact. This was another indication of a selling club recognising the need for the buying club to purchase said player and therefore forcing the price up because they know of the buying club’s need to sign that player.

As seen with Demarai Gray’s move to Leicester City in the January of their title-winning campaign, and Wilfred Ndidi’s move to the King Power Stadium during the last January window, there is the market for Premier League clubs signing young players from lesser clubs during the winter window.

Gray moved from Birmingham City and took some time to establish himself in the side, but after last weekend’s display at St James Park, it isn’t hard to see why Claude Puel is now favouring the England U-21 man.

Meanwhile, Ndidi was a star man for Belgian side KRC Genk and while he did command a fee just shy of £16m, he has proven his worth by being an excellent holding midfielder in his first calendar year with the Foxes.

There are a multitude of dangers in signing players to ‘save your season’ in January. Whether they do not gel well with their new teammates and take a few months to adapt to their new team and surroundings, or simply do not live up to their expectations feeling the pressure of a large transfer fee. There are various dangers and that is something that must be considered and consequently combated if necessary in Benitez’ decision-making during this upcoming window.

The danger is evident; signing a player hardly at the nadir of their career and not getting the best out of them as a result. We only need to look at the recent January additions of Henri Saivet and on-loan Seydou Doumbia to prove that without diligent consideration and scouting of a transfer target, their opportunities will be limited and the purchase will have been a waste.

Benitez’ approach to the January transfer window is unlikely to be as misguided as that of messrs McClaren or Carr, but if funds are made available, then the likelihood is that Rafa will go after his top targets that he believes will be assets to the current squad.

A goalkeeper, a striker and a full-back spring to mind. Speculating on the personnel would simply be conjecture as very few people will have knowledge of who Rafa is thinking about bringing in. Nevertheless, in terms of January signings – should they materialise – they will likely fall into one of those aforementioned categories.

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  • Christopher Edwards

    and a number 10

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      It`s more likely to be more Number 2`s

    • Jezza

      Nothing personal but what is this “number 10” business I keep hearing about? What is meant by a number 10? Is it one of these trendy new Sky Sports terms? Based on our team’s current requirements I can only assume it means a forward who can hold the ball. That’s what we called it back in my day.

      • Christopher Edwards

        Not to get personal but anyone who knows anything about football knows what a number 10 is. It is not a ‘trendy new term’. My dad knows what one is and is in his 60’s. It’s someone who can play in the hole behind the front man. Where Benitez played the almighty Diame tonight.

        • Jezza

          “In the hole”. That’s another term that was unheard of back in my day.

          • Christopher Edwards

            If you truly don’t understand these terms i suggest you find a different hobby as you don’t know much about this one.

          • Jezza

            I knew more than enough about football long before you and the rest of the Sky Sorts generation were ever born.

          • Christopher Edwards

            Okay, because you are older you know more than me about football. You are older than Guardiola as well so i am sure you know more than him as well. I don’t understand how you are overlooked whenever a managers job becomes available. Having said that, perhaps all the best managers would be in their 90’s because they are even older.

          • Jezza

            It’s nothing to do with age but with age comes experience. I have been watching and playing football for almost five decades so that has got to count for something. Just because I’m not au fait with modern flavour of the month football buzz words it doesn’t mean I know nothing about football. When I played competitive football in the 70’s the term “in the hole” was unheard of and “number 10” was a shirt not a position.

          • Rich Lawson

            Correct,2 up front,No 10 was a left footed striker,No 8 a right foot,either or to compliment the big lad in the No 9 shirt who would be waiting for wingers 7 and 11 to hoy the crosses in.4-2-4 anyone !

          • Christopher Edwards

            I would say experience/age counts for very little. I know plenty of older people who have watched football all of their life and have strange views. Some are very reasoned and some are just nuts. I wouldn’t call the terms flavor of the month either. I don’t think I am that far behind you in terms of age but I watch and listen to a lot of football and the terms I am using have been around for quite some time. Like I said earlier, my dad is in his 60’s but he watches modern football and understands these terms. The Internet was also ‘unheard’ of in the 70’s but you have managed to keep up with the times and post comments online.
            Let’s leave this irrelevant conversation and look at the bigger picture that we are both fans of football and Newcastle United. We will use different terms and have different opinions on the best way for Newcastle to be successful but we both want the same thing at the end of the day.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            I think what most believe to be the no. 10 role is to have a Peter Beardsley. Experience tells me Beardsleys are not easy to find and Rafa has only ever had one in Hamsik and then he was not played with freedom. Rafa’s no 10 is what some call a box to box midfielder

  • Kev-82

    A decent left back, a No. 10 that can actually assist and score & a Striker that knows where the net is are an absolute minimum. There are other places we need strengthening (RB, wings, GK) but not the end of the world if they don’t this window.

  • Peter Stabler

    Loan moves are the way to go in January – short term targets. Keep it simple.

    • HarryHype59

      Agreed, Mitro Shelvey, Colbeck and Mbemba will go out on loan! Hopefully much needed EPL quality players will replace them!

      • Tomb

        Whats wrong with Mbemba can’t fathom why he’s not playing

  • GToon

    I wouldn’t give him a penny to spend. The bloke is worse than pardew and schteve.

    • Thefootballerwhocouldfly

      What are you on?! Rafa is not perfect but he is a top class manager and we’re so lucky to have him!
      Parsnip & Schteve…. you’re either extracting the urine or completely off your head!

      • GToon

        Ok. Silly me. Don’t let results or the league table get in the way of what you think.

    • Vladimir Biggski


  • Tomb

    Actually McLaren did well in the Jan window signing shelvey and Townsend who nearly kept us up it was Carr who brought in saivet