In typical Newcastle United fashion, the club look dead and buried only to spring a surprise on Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool. While that one result cannot be treated like a false dawn, as the 6-2 win over Norwich was, it shows Steve McClaren does have a capable group of players. When they can be bothered.
Amid all the suggestions of training ground bust-ups and senior players not caring, they managed to beat Liverpool without really ever playing well. Granted, neither did the opposition, but it’s as if the Toon Army were in earth shattering form at St. James’ Park. The players just, you know, tried.
Relegation does remain a very real prospect on Tyneside despite the win. McClaren has watched his side battered by the likes of Manchester City, Leicester and Crystal Palace in recent months while Sunderland inflicted yet another derby day defeat on the miserable Magpies.
However, there are feelings around the club that Mike Ashely is prepared to spend big next month in order to ensure Premier League survival. They have proved they are able to compete with top sides, other than Man City game where they were in control for large parts of the first half. Just not often enough.
Perhaps some clever additions in January can push the Toon Army out of the bottom three and stabilise the club going forward. If Newcastle can ever truly be stable, of course.
Considering all of this, here are FIVE bold January transfer targets to boost Newcastle’s hopes of survival…
The Aleksandar Mitrovic experiment is yet to pay off despite the 20-year old Serb’s goals so far. Still a raw talent, the former Anderlecht man has been taken out of the squad for the last two games for Papiss Cisse.
The club still lack a striker after the failed attempt to land Charlie Austin, who proved too expensive. As a result, Berahino has been linked with a move to Tyneside in January.
The 22-year old has struggled this season following his failed move to Spurs in the summer, but remains one of the brightest talents in the Premier League. His addition would be excellent at St. James’ Park, a real poacher for the first time since Michael Owen.
Exactly the calibre of signing to lift the Toon out of this mess.
Vurnon Anita and Jack Colback have been the preferred pair during McClaren’s tenure so far, though there could be some improvement. Anita played well against Liverpool but for large parts of the opening 15 games has been both awful and anonymous.
While Colback remains a class act, the arrival of Jonjo Shelvey would certainly add a bit of bite to an occasionally non-existent Magpies engine room. The former Liverpool man is capable of wonderful passes as well as a physical approach in winning the ball back.
He wears his heart on his sleeve and possess genuine class on the ball, two things the Geordie giants have been desperately lacking.
It seems inevitable that towering Geordie striker Andy Carroll will one day return to the North East after the ridiculous amount of time he’s been linked with doing so.
The 26-year old is as Geordie as they come and would certainly add a bit of heart to the team. A return to his beloved Toon Army would be an excellent deal for all involved, giving the Magpies a completely different option up top.
Unplayable on his day, he could the Number 9 missing since, well, he left in the first place! It’s not out of the realms of possibility he could make a return to the England squad too if he can shake the injuries and enjoy his football back home once again.
The England international would be a welcome addition in the North East due to his electric pace. A few of Newcastle’s best goals this season have been when Moussa Sissoko and Giorginio Wijnaldum are on the break and effectively counter.
So, the addition of the jet heeled Townsend would add another string to that bow. The 24-year old can also cut inside and wreak havoc with rasping shots from distance, giving McClaren the option of a wide forward as well as a more traditional winger.
Likely to leave White Hart Lane next month, he should be snapped up by those behind the scenes at St. James’ Park.
The Cameroonian defender was thought to be a target in the summer, though the club baulked at his asking price. However, the 24-year old could now be keen on a switch to the Premier League in January.
A rock solid defender, he would be closer to the finished article than summer signing Chancel Mbemba and a lot younger than struggling captain Fabricio Coloccini. Despite the skipper’s performance against Liverpool, the damage has largely been done and the Argentine should soon be replaced.
Signing Matip would be an excellent addition and give the heart of defence a much stronger standing heading into the business end of the season.