Newcastle entered the 2015-16 season with high hopes after owner Mike Ashley invested £80million throughout two transfer windows. Yet his mercenary-type approach didn’t translate to victories.
For the second time in seven years, the Magpies were relegated. Newcastle’s dreary season cemented itself as the the most expensive team ever relegated – not exactly what Ashley envisioned.
Only to make matters worse, crosstown rivals Sunderland avoided a similar fate, finishing one spot ahead of Newcastle in the standings. Sunderland found consistency in the latter part of the season as Newcastle faded.
Ashley must re-evaluate his approach if he wishes to rejoin the Premier League, and looking toward some of Sunderland’s players is a possible solution.
These are the three players Newcastle should cherry pick from Sunderland…
The Chelsea product has finally found a home with Sunderland after bouncing around clubs for the majority of his career. Van Aanholt was one of Allardyce’s most consistent players last season.
Injuries to Paul Dummett and Kevin Mbabu led to inconsistency at the left-back position for Newcastle, and the squad needs to shore up its defence if it hopes to improve from its horrid output of 65 conceded goals.
Van Aanholt provides a bit of everything at the position. His experience as a winger allows him to push forward into the flanks, serve quality balls and score some goals. He successfully converted himself to a defender this season and showed discipline on the backline.
The Dutch defender is one of Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce’s favorites. Luring van Aanholt away will take some brilliant convincing and, of course, a considerable offer.
Ashley certainly isn’t afraid to do so.
Newcastle’s top priority must be finding a quality striker to work alongside Aleksander Mitrovic, and acquiring a player of Defoe’s quality would prove hugely beneficial.
This season, Georginio Wijnaldum and and Mitrovic accounted for 20 of Newcastle’s 44 goals. Meanwhile, Defoe scored 15 times, putting 66%of his shots on target.
Newcastle lack creativity in the attacking third, and they will need another goal-scorer to vault themselves back to the Premier League.
Acquiring Sunderland’s top scorer will come at a price, but it’s a necessary investment.
Sunderland’s U21 squad was one of the best in the Premier League, finishing second behind Manchester United.
Rees Greenwood was a major contributor. An explosive and crafty left winger, Greenwood is currently competing to make the top Sunderland squad for next season.
Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez has consistently sought after pricey, glamorous players, which evidently hasn’t translated to quality or cohesion on the pitch.
He must invest in young talent with longterm impact, and Greenwood fits that billing.