It hasn’t been smooth sailing for Newcastle United and Rafa Benitez in the last couple of months. After promotion from the Championship, things were supposed to be on the up, but that is a dangerous thing to say when you’ve got Mike Ashley backing you. It’s not as if Rafa didn’t already know that, but the transfer window has given us a stern reminder of just why the club have struggled in the last decade or so.
Benitez built a good core at Newcastle that had the quality to deal with all the challenges the Championship threw, but the Premier League is the crème de la crème of all the leagues in England. The uncertainty alone means even if you have a side which is top 10 on paper, you don’t really know how close it’s going to be at the end of the season.
For Benitez and the Toon army, that feeling is going to persist till May.
The club has had a subdued transfer window and haven’t really added too many Premier League quality players. By that, I mean the consistency and not just the quality to turn up once every month to ensure you start no matter what (remember Moussa Sissoko?).
With the transfer window open for just another day, the Magpies will have to act quickly. Though the club managed to put three past West Ham in their last game, goal-scoring is going to be a big worry for the team.
While Joselu can thrive if given a chance, Mitrovic is just a petulant footballer who has a thing for cards more than goals. As for Dwight Gayle, well, he simply isn’t a Premier League quality striker. His record is incredible in the Championship, but he flatters to deceive in the top flight (except when he’s facing a Liverpool defence).
Gayle to be offloaded?
Recent reports indicate the club could offload Gayle to Championship side Fulham. Though he was their top scorer, the club’s willingness to let him go pretty much shows how much faith Benitez has on the striker.
While it’s fine getting rid of a player who you don’t think is good enough, doing so in the eleventh hour doesn’t make much sense. It’s unclear who the club will go after to sign as a replacement for Gayle, but some of the tabloids state that the club are after Liverpool striker Divock Origi.
Origi a good choice?
Irrespective of a loan or a permanent deal, yes, Origi would be a good buy. It’s fairly easy to figure out Rafa’s setup; he’s a pragmatic coach and will play it safe more often than not. Looking at that, Origi ticks most of the boxes for a striker Rafa needs.
He is quick, can finish and has the versatility to play in the wide areas as well. What is good about Origi is he can be used as a target-man as well, which won’t make Mitrovic happy.