The Newcastle United squad return for pre-season today (Monday 2 July).
The introduction to new starters won’t take very long, Ki Sung-Yueng is the only one so far and having just finished his World Cup campaign, he has been granted time with his family before getting down to pre-season preparations.
After Martin Dubravka’s loan spell was made permanent, the consensus amongst fans appeared to be that the next signing would tell us a lot about this summer’s transfer window.
Instead, Newcastle supporters aren’t quite sure what to make of the 29 year old midfielder arriving on a free transfer.
On the plus side, he is definitely a Premier League level player.
However, with only 55 Premier League starts over the course of the last three seasons, for a struggling and eventually relegated Swansea side, he hasn’t been a first team constant for them.
Bottom line is that Newcastle fans are waiting for signings that are better than the first eleven of last season.
Players that will improve the quality of the team, especially those who can/will create and score goals.
As a squad player Ki is a credible signing, especially at the price. However, it will only be when we find out the identity of the third (and fourth, fifth, sixth…) signing of the summer, when we will be able to see where the South Korean international fits into the recruitment jigsaw.
There will be little over a week before the Newcastle squad fly off on Wednesday 11 July for their pre-season training camp in Ireland, which will build up to a first pre-season friendly with St Patrick’s Athletic on Tuesday 17 July.
If signings three and four are on that flight and are of a level to raise the spirits, then things will just maybe start to take shape.
The Ki Sung-Yueng signing showed one thing for sure and that is the media, both local and national, don’t have a clue when it comes to Newcastle transfers these days.
Hopefully both the media and fans will get a few big surprises in these next 10 days or so.
Rafa Benitez is of course at the very heart of our hopes and expectations, so we should have a better idea once he starts talking over the course of the next few weeks.
If Rafa is talking about more new signings instead of broken promises, then supporters can start building up their hopes and even a little expectation.
It all though feels very much like next season’s hopes are on a knife edge at this moment in time, hopefully it won’t be a self-inflicted wound when it comes to ambition (lack of) in the transfer market.