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Opinion

The transfer news that will make or break this Newcastle United summer

12 months ago
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Having climbed to 35 points and the likes of Southampton, Stoke and Huddersfield seemingly in freefall to try and join West Brom in the Championship, I think it isn’t premature for Newcastle fans to be able to have at least a brief glance at what could/should happen if/when the team confirm Premier League safety.

It is now only 41 days until this Premier League campaign ends and then the transfer window frenzy is quickly set to begin.

The transfer window opening and closing earlier than ever before [in this current era], a World Cup to complicate things, there can be no repeat of the United boss being messed around once again.

Like never before do Newcastle need to be prepared to hit key targets early and back Rafa Benitez in bringing in the players he believes will improve the team next season.

Ironically, two new signings who will definitely improve this Newcastle team, are already here.

Only a fool would deny that Martin Dubravka and Kenedy have been key players in this recent upsurge of form and results.

The keeper has kept three clean sheets in five starts and helped the team pick up 10 points from a possible 15, whilst our Chelsea loan signing has contributed two goals and two assists in seven games – as well as his all-round game play.

A permanent deal for Dubravka has already been agreed, a figure of £4m being  widely reported. So as long as Newcastle stay up, the goalkeeping position looks to be in safe hands at a bargain price.

As for Kenedy, it is a little more complicated, as his temporary move was purely a loan deal, with no buying fee agreed.

However, Rafa Benitez was keen to talk (see below) before and after Saturday’s win about the winger’s contribution, whilst Kenedy himself told Brazilian media (see below) last week that he was keen to stay if a deal could be agreed between the two clubs.

This is an open goal for me.

Kenedy is far from the finished article but has already shown he gives this Newcastle side so much of what it has been lacking going forward, with the promise of plenty more to come from him.

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Creative players, and goalscorers, are by far the hardest ones to recruit at Premier League level, so to let this one slip away would be criminal.

Last season, the 16 May 2017 saw it widely reported that a permanent £6m transfer for Christian Atsu had been agreed by all parties.

We are now only six weeks away from that date a year later and if Newcastle don’t have an agreement in place for the Brazilian by then, my optimism for the summer will be very much in decline.

Yes Chelsea aren’t going to give us him on the cheap but that is the reality, if the team is going to grow from this point forward, we desperately need to improve the team/squad going forward, in a number of positions.

If/when safety is reached, then straight away contact should be made with Chelsea to sort the deal.

This is a player who is already at the club, is playing very well, enjoying it, has respect for the manager, playing in front of over 50,000 fans…

If we can’t convince him to sign and get the deal done with Chelsea, I don’t see how you could then believe that it would then be possible to source an alternative who would be anywhere near as good and complete a deal.

I have no doubt that once the season is wrapped up, Kenedy will be intending to head off home to Brazil for a big reunion with friends and family, reflecting on a great introduction to the Premier League with Newcastle United.

Before he takes that trip we need the deal done, here’s hoping/expecting.

Rafa Benitez before the game against Huddersfield:

“When you talk about Kenedy, the deliveries, the passes, the free-kicks, the corners, he gives us something apart from the goals.

“He was giving us something different that was helping the rest of the team.”

Rafa Benitez after the win over Huddersfield:

“With Kenedy, when he has the ball, we know that he’s a Brazilian player who likes to play.

“He is not scared on the ball, and that’s a big difference.

“Sometimes, you are in a rush or under pressure or the excitement doesn’t allow you to think clearly, but with him, you know you have that.

“He has scored goals, given assists and had the composure for the pass [for Perez’ winner on Saturday], that was the key.”

The Mag – Friday 30 March – Kenedy speaking to UOL in Brazil:

“This new phase [of my career] in Newcastle’s shirt makes me very happy.

“It is very difficult for a player to stay out of action for a long time [as has happened at Chelsea], even more difficult to get back into the rhythm of the Premier League.”

Make the loan deal at Newcastle a permanent one?:

“If it’s good for everyone, it would be a pleasure to continue wearing the shirt of this great team.”

Rafa Benitez influence:

“He insists that I learn to speak English.

“He acts towards me like a father and I learn a lot from him.”

In the footsteps of Newcastle’s 80s cult hero Mirandinha:

“I did not get a chance to see him play but the stories I heard about him, tell me that he was a great player.

“I will fight to be another Brazilian to have the name remembered at Newcastle just as well.”
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