A brilliant bit of business in the last summer meant Newcastle United were well equipped to challenge for instant promotion and the Magpies did just that in the first attempt. Credit must be given to Rafael Benitez who built a team ready for the Championship in weeks and luring the likes of Matt Richie, Ciaran Clarke and Mo Diame to St. James’ Park.
But the real work starts now as Newcastle are back in the Premier League and have to sustain effectively in the first division. Benitez has demanded a huge transfer kitty from owner Mike Ashley with the Spaniard keen to take the Magpies close to a top 10 finish next season. The Magpies need strengthening in each department and we look at the five players that Newcastle must sign in order to guarantee a top 12 finish in the Premier League:
#1 Asmir Begovic
The Chelsea backup goalkeeper is looking to leave Stamford Bridge soon after failing to land even a few games at the club. Newcastle have done well with Rob Elliot and Matz Sels between the posts but need a world-class custodian who has an experience of playing in the Premier League. Begovic fits the bill perfectly and can prove to be a smart buy for Newcastle as he won’t come at a huge price.
#2 Harry Maguire
The Hull City centre-back has been one of their best players and if the Tigers survive relegation, Maguire will have a huge share in that role. Newcastle have scouted him on numerous occasions and have been long-term admirers of the 24-year old. Everton are also in the race as Newcastle will have to spend big to take the fearless defender on board. Maguire has a huge career ahead of him as Benitez must do all in his might to sign him.
#3 Luke Shaw
The Manchester United left-back has fallen out of favour at Old Trafford with his issues with manager Jose Mourinho being well known. He could leave the Red Devils this summer and Newcastle should line up for a player who still has a lot to prove in order to justify his potential. Shaw is a brilliant fullback and can provide an extra dimension to Newcastle’s attacks going forward.
#4 Tom Cairney
Fulham are in with a chance of qualifying for the Premier League from the playoffs and Cairney has had a big hand in their success. The creative midfielder has been one of the best players this season in the second division. Newcastle United’s midfield is crying out for a creative spark at the moment and Cairney can solve that issue effectively. If Fulham fail to win the playoffs, it will be easy for Newcastle to lure him away from Craven Cottage.
#5 Jermain Defoe
Though Dwight Gayle has been immense this season, Newcastle will need another striker to have enough attacking strength in their squad. Defoe is available on a free transfer after Sunderland’s relegation and have a number of clubs lining up to secure his services. With 14 goals this season, Defoe has proved his worth in the Premier League as Newcastle should offer him huge wages and ward off interest from other clubs. A striker pairing of Gayle/Defoe or Defoe/Mitrovic would make an interesting viewing for the supporters.