It’s spend, spend, spend for Benitez and Newcastle
While the big boys in the Premier League have dominated the back pages for the large part of the transfer window, a certain Newcastle United have been quietly going about their business.
The Magpies are building a squad seemingly fit for life in the top flight as Rafa Benitez’s men prepare to bounce straight back from the Championship.
If there was an award for Championship signing of the summer so far, Newcastle would already have two strong favourites, following the acquisitions of Bournemouth’s Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle of Crystal Palace.
Ritchie helped play a part the Cherries’ comfortable first season in the top flight, contributing four goals in 37 appearances, while Gayle struggled to gather momentum in an injury-filled campaign.
Though a reported £10m may seem overpriced for a striker who has only scored 15 Premier League goals in three seasons, perhaps a drop in leagues will help the 25-year old to realise his potential.
The Magpies boast an impressive array of players going forward, but it is at the back where Benitez might face problems.
Shipping 65 goals in 38 games last year, it doesn’t come as a shock to hear of Benitez’s intentions to strengthen a defence which has since lost long-serving centre half Fabricio Coloccini.
Experienced Atletico Madrid right-back Jesus Gamez looks set to swap sunny Spain for the north-east following a successful medical, while Watford’s Craig Cathcart is another name which continues to be linked with the club.
Both would provide a wealth of experience to a defence which currently has an average age of just 21 years and six months.
If Newcastle are to live up to their favourites tag this season, they’ll have to not only perform well in the buying market, but also resist the temptation of selling their big names.
One thing’s for sure, if Rafa can keep hold of his key men and continue to attract exciting names to St. James’ Park, the 15/8 on them to win the league will seem like an absolute steal.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.