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Rafa Benitez has these four positions he wants to buy players for as he seeks talks with Lee Charnley – Report

9 months ago
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It is now two days until the World Cup finals kick off and also two days until we get to four weeks into the Summer transfer window, so far Rafa Benitez has only seen Martin Dubravka sign a permanent deal.

Newcastle fans had expected a flurry of early activity with the Spaniard always keen to get some targets in early – but no other moves so far.

There have been French media claims of Lille rejecting a bid for 21 year old Brazilian midfielder Thiago Maia but overall, even transfer speculation has tended to be more about players who might leave Newcastle rather than come in.

Whilst Dubravka was very welcome news, it was more a case of an open goal that could be missed, a deal that was expected and Newcastle had no choice but to get it done by the end of May or else they would have lost the option to buy for a bargain £4m.

Tuesday morning sees reports of Rafa Benitez seeking talks with Lee Charnley, the Northern Echo saying their information is that the manager wants an update on how far things have progressed with the list of targets he has previously given the club’s hierarchy.

The report adds that the understanding is that Rafa Benitez has made clear that as a bare minimum he needs to bring in a striker, winger, midfielder and defender.

To those cynical of the media, after signing goalkeeper Dubravka, that list covers pretty much every position!

The reality of course is that Newcastle do indeed need to add quality/competition throughout the team.

For most Newcastle fans judging what is most desperately needed, Goalkeeper now looks relatively sorted, with Dubravka as number one and Darlow & Elliot as back up, with Freddie Woodman likely to go out on loan to get playing time.

Centre-back is probably next most sorted, Lascelles and Lejeune seen as first choice with Ciaran Clark a very reliable cover. The expected departure of Chancel Mbemba will create room for a replacement but not as an absolute essential.

Central midfield is also relatively strong, like the centre-back pairing, Diame and Shelvey are undisputed first choice after the way they played in the final months, whilst Mikel Merino has a lot of promise. However, there does appear to be substance in the growing claims of a return to Spain being on the cards, which gives a bit more credence to the claimed interest in Thiago Maia.

As for essentials, I can’t believe any supporter will not think that a striker and left winger are absolute essentials, with a number 10 not far behind.

Right wing looks ok with Matt Ritchie and Jacob Murphy as back up, whilst with Gamez and Haidara now leaving, competition in both full-back positions would be welcome. Manquillo can cover both sides but hasn’t really convinced that he up the job.

With 20 days until pre-season starts, Rafa Benitez is sure to want as much business done as possible before the squad return to business, hopefully the next signing to be announced will be a statement of intent.

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