As the season was coming to a close, I looked around the squad and thought we needed to make five key Newcastle signings this summer.
You always need/want more – for me though these five buys would really set Newcastle up for next season, not just to be able to cling on but also make real progress.
Other signings may also be needed but more as squad players, depending on which Newcastle players move on, as Rafa attempts to shift those he has little/no use for.
Wednesday saw Martin Dubravka commit his future to the club, that is a massive tick for me and one of those five key Newcastle signings that needed to be made.
With Karl Darlow as number two and Freddie Woodman making continual progress, the goalkeeping side of NUFC could be sorted for years to come.
That still though means at least four other key Newcastle signings that need to be made this summer, in my opinion.
An easy position to identify and equally easy to identify who ideally would fill it, is left wing.
Christian Atsu is ok as a squad player but no more than that, Kenedy having shown the level that we really need when he came in on loan.
Rafa Benitez has made clear he wants to get him back to NUFC and especially with getting Dubravka on the cheap, there really is no reason why Newcastle can’t go in strong and made an offer that would at last break the 13 year old (and counting) club transfer record.
Kenedy isn’t going to be a first team player for Chelsea even if the sign nobody in the summer, whilst claims of the other established successful clubs wanting to take him are surely just newspaper fantasy. Even if there was any truth in these media claims, the Brazilian would end up somewhere else with no first team football, which would be pointless at this stage of his career.
Newcastle have to be in prime position to land him, if Rafa is allowed the freedom and backing to go for Kenedy, if a permanent deal isn’t what Chelsea are interested in, then NUFC should also be at the head of any queue to take him on loan.
The next position is right wing.
Not a call to get rid of Matt Ritchie but instead provide competition for him and an alternative way of Newcastle being able to line up as well in terms of formation and how they play. Ritchie is versatile as well, so could potentially play elsewhere in the team alongside any new signing.
Newcastle’s goals total of 39 last season was feeble to say the least.
It is surely a no-brainer that two better quality strikers/number 10 need to be brought in.
Again, like Ritchie, I wouldn’t see this as getting rid of Gayle and Perez, more to compete with them and hopefully play the bulk of games. With Mitro set to be off, the club could also trade in Joselu if there was any interest.
With Merino indicating he wants to stay, to compete with Diame and Shelvey, it leaves us in decent shape in centre midfield.
Whilst I would still like an attacking left-back as competition for Paul Dummett, I see those four more forward positions as the priorities for where Rafa Benitez needs to be spending the bulk of his budget.