Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez had previously said that he wanted all of his January transfer business to be completed by January 20, but less than a week before that deadline is up the Spaniard is yet to add a single player to his squad.
The former Liverpool and Real Madrid boss was unhappy with the club’s summer transfer business, although he would have been a little more content when his team sat in sixth position in the Premier League table after 10 matches of the season.
However, a run of just two points from ten games catapulted the Magpies into relegation trouble, with two wins in their last five matches seeing them arrest the slide and they now lie three places and just three points after a disappointing 1-1 draw with bottom side Swansea City at St James’ Park at the weekend.
Benitez won’t be happy that he hasn’t made a signing yet, but with seemingly no progress over a proposed takeover deal, the 57-year-old is waiting to see how much money he will be given by owner Mike Ashley – who wants to sell the club – to strengthen his squad this month.
Ashley is unlikely to pour millions in given the current situation, and while it may not be ideal for the club or their Spanish manager, the Tyneside outfit may be reliant on loan deals before the window slams shut on January 31.
Premier League rules permit that Newcastle can sign two players on a temporary basis from their top flight rivals – although they can’t be from the same team – while there is no limit to how many players they can bring in on loan from foreign clubs.
The Magpies will be working behind the scenes to work out which two English-based players they can bring in, and there are potentially plenty of options available to them.
The Toon have a particularly strong relationship with Chelsea having signed Christian Atsu from them in the summer, and they have already been linked with loan moves for Kenedy and Charly Musonda, with the former being able to play as a left-back or left winger, and the latter able to play anywhere across the three attacking midfield positions in Benitez’s preferred 4-2-3-1 system.
Blues boss Antonio Conte is also reported to be looking for a new striker to provide competition for Alvaro Morata, and if he succeeds then the out of favour Michy Batshuayi could also be available on loan.
While Kenedy and Charly Musonda would be useful additions, the Premier League rules could mean that Newcastle decide to wait for Batshuayi given their need for goals – they have scored just 21 goals in 23 top flight matches so far this term with strikers Dwight Gayle, Joselu and Aleksandar Mitrovic only netting eight of those.
Benitez’s former club Liverpool may also have players available on loan, with Danny Ings a possibility if they fail to sell the £30m-rated Daniel Sturridge, while defensive midfielder Marko Grujic could also leave on a temporary basis to play regularly.
With Jonjo Shelvey continuing to be linked with a move to West Ham, a move for the latter could prove to be shrewd, while they could even look to get Javier Hernandez on loan as part of any deal that took the 25-year-old to the London Stadium.
Elsewhere, Arsenal striker Joel Campbell could be available if he is recalled from his loan at Real Betis having struggled to make an impact, Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe could also go while Leicester could let attackers like Islam Slimani, Ahmed Musa or Leonardo Ulloa leave towards the end of the window.
Benitez should also have a good knowledge of the European market, with someone like Atletico Madrid winger Nicolas Gaitan potentially available on a loan deal until the end of the season with a view to a permanent move, while Paris Saint-Germain’s Grzegorz Krychowiak could also look for another Premier League opportunity if his West Bromwich Albion loan spell is ended early.
While it certainly isn’t an ideal scenario if Newcastle do have to rely on loan deals this month, if they remain patient until the end of the month, they can still get the players that they need to help them in their battle to survive in the second-half of the campaign.