Rafael Benitez has been busy this summer, bringing the likes of Dwight Gayle, Matt Ritchie and Mats Selz to St James’ Park. But perhaps the biggest buy of their summer is still to happen, with the Spanish boss reportedly keen to reunite with his former striking sensation Peter Crouch.
The 35-year-old enjoyed the best years of his career under Benitez, scoring 42 times over three seasons at Anfield, including a flurry of goals which helped the Reds win the 2006 FA Cup.
Questions will be raised over whether the man from Macclesfield can still make a big impact, with age and a lack of recent game-time both against the former England international.
However, the 10 strikes he netted for Stoke City in 2014-15 suggests he’s far from finished, and his instinctive finishing and physicality could both prove excellent attributes for a Newcastle side who need to adapt to Championship football.
There’s also the fact those young forwards in the Magpies ranks – the likes of Adam Armstrong, Ivan Toney, and Aleksandar Mitrovic – would certainly benefit from training with a player who’s made his mark on the big stage, scoring at a World Cup and in a Champions League quarter-final.
Newcastle are 15/8 favourites to win the Championship next season, and if they can add a player of Crouch’s skill and experience to their ranks, those odds could well tumble even before a ball is kicked.
The Toon Army head to Fulham on the opening day, and Rafa’s men are 21/20 to get off to the perfect start with a victory.
But will we see Crouchy doing the robot in those famous black-and-white stripes to celebrate?
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.