2017 was a year to remember for Newcastle United fans, with popular manager Rafa Benitez leading the Magpies back to the Premier League at the first time of asking after pipping Brighton to the title in the final stages of the season.
The Geordie contingent in The Transfer Tavern are realistic in their expectations for the current campaign, and explained to our landlord in the chilly beer garden that survival this year ahead of a top-half push next season would have Magpies fans jumping with joy by May.
Victory over Stoke City on New Year’s Day helped Benitez’s side move four points clear of the drop zone, and the former Liverpool and Real Madrid boss will hope his side can continue their good form and climb up the table in the coming weeks.
Set to be busy in January, Newcastle have been linked with a host of players, with Chelsea Kenedy a target for Benitez in the coming weeks.
The Spaniard is keen to raid his former side for the promising Brazilian, but The Chronicle has today reported that the move has been held up as Chelsea chase a replacement for the player.
Benitez will now be forced to wait before a move for the player can be confirmed.
Benitez needs reinforcements as soon as possible, and reports of a delay will frustrate the manager.
Kenedy is a good player who has slowly begun to break into the first-team set-up at Chelsea, and will surely excel when playing regular football at St James’ Park.
A move appears extremely likely, and just a matter of time before completion is confirmed, but our punters here in The Tavern are a little restless by these reports.
Benitez must ensure he has a contingency plan lined up should the move fall through, or face taking a risk on a last minute panic buy should Chelsea pull out on the deal.
Newcastle fans, should Benitez bide his time over Kenedy or move on to other targets? Have your say below…