Rumoured Newcastle arrivals suggest Championship domination
With Rafa Benitez’s Champions League-winning hand to guide them and a sprinkling of Premier League-quality signings seemingly about to commit to the cause, Newcastle look set for a swift top-flight return.
Retaining Benitez, the former Real Madrid, Chelsea, Napoli, Inter and Valencia manager, is already one of the coups of the transfer window for the relegated Magpies.
The calibre of players on the cusp of joining Newcastle, despite dropping out of the big time, would appear to reflect that.
Hot on the heels of news that Crystal Palace striker Dwight Gayle is set for a move, are widespread reports that Bournemouth winger Matt Ritchie is also mulling over a switch to the north east.
Although he was used sparingly under Alan Pardew last season, Gayle has top-scored across all competitions for Palace over the past three campaigns and has a proven record at Championship level.
Before the now 25-year-old Londoner was snapped up by the Eagles, he had fired in 13 second-tier goals in 29 appearances at Peterborough.
Meanwhile, signing Cherries winger Ritchie would be another big scalp for Rafa, as the Scotland international has been linked to several Premier League outfits since appearing as a shock Manchester United target in November, with West Ham most prominent in recent headlines.
A Championship title winner for Eddie Howe’s side just two seasons ago, Ritchie was one of those Bournemouth players who made a seamless transition to the big time in 2015/16.
The powerful left-footer scored four Premier League goals in his debut top-flight campaign and assisted six more as the Cherries wound up 16th, two places above Newcastle.
Ritchie also has clear pedigree a level below, having clocked up a mightily impressive tally of 15 goals and 17 assists in 2014/15, as the south coast side went up as Championship winners.
Newcastle are the 4/7 favourites for the second-tier crown and even if Andros Townsend heads in the opposite direction to Gayle, the quality of the manager and these touted arrivals bodes very well indeed.
strong>All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.