Newcastle are reportedly the subject of a takeover bid from Sheikh Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nehayan, but what must their priority be in the transfer market this summer?
A report from The Sun sent Tyneside wild this weekend, as the paper suggested a takeover from Mike Ashley is already complete.
While that report seems to have jumped the gun slightly, there is clearly strong interest in the Magpies, with reports in the Middle East, verified by Pete Graves of Sky Sports, claiming the takeover will indeed happen at some point.
On Wednesday, The Evening Chronicle shared a statement from the Bin Zayed group, saying: “Terms have been agreed between us and Mike Ashley; these terms have been reflected in a document, signed by both parties, which has been forwarded to the Premier League.”
So, assuming the club’s new owners will give Rafael Benitez the cash injection a manager of his calibre deserves, what are the Magpies’ first ports of call this summer?
Salomon Rondon was excellent on Tyneside, showing exactly what can happen when Rafa gets his man.
Benitez’s checklist for a number nine is complex, as they need to be powerful enough to hold the ball up, but mobile and athletic enough to make constant runs that stretch the defence.
Former Wigan & Fulham man, Jimmy Bullard recently showed that he’s still got it! Check out the video below…
Without a player to do this, the likes of Ayoze Perez and Miguel Almiron will have no space to work their magic, evidenced by how poor Perez was whenever he played with Aleksandar Mitrović, who fills Benitez’s first requirement but not the second.
A striker of Rondon’s quality or better must be the first priority.
All great sides have a great spine, which is why central midfield is the next department in line for an upgrade.
Isaac Hayden, Mo Diame and Jonjo Shelvey could all leave, so regardless of whether or not Manchester United swoop for Sean Longstaff, midfield reinforcements are a must.
Finally, Benitez desperately needs a left-back. Playing with five at the back asks a lot of the wide men, and while Javi Manquillo and DeAndre Yedlin are far from perfect, at least they are actually right-backs.
On the left, a combination of Paul Dummett, who is definitely not an attacking wing-back, and winger Matt Ritchie was the first choice for Rafa by the end of the campaign, which is simply not good enough.