Newcastle United supporters in the Transfer Tavern have been reasonably satisfied with their side’s start to the Premier League season, although will surely be concerned with their recent run of form which has seen them lose their last three league matches.
Rafa Benitez’s men picked up four victories from their opening nine league games to sit comfortably in the top half of the division, although their momentum was checked by Sean Dyche’s Burnley as the Clarets secured a 1-0 win at Turf Moor at the end of October. The Magpies weren’t then able to get back to winning ways against Bournemouth prior to the international break either, losing 1-0 at St James’ Park, and they suffered a third successive defeat by going down 4-1 to Manchester United on Saturday.
Thus, there have been contrasting moods among Magpies fans in the Tavern in recent times with many pinpointing their fine start to the season over their mini-slump, while others are concerned by their side’s recent form ahead of the rest of the campaign.
Yet many are already turning their attentions towards January and the reopening of the transfer market, and recent reports suggest that Galatasaray’s Badou Ndiaye could well be making the move to Newcastle during the upcoming window.
The 27-year-old only moved to the Turkish giants during the summer but has hit the ground running with starts in all but one of their Super Lig games so far, with the midfielder missing a recent clash through suspension.
Yet, despite only moving there a matter of months ago, the Magpies are reportedly ready to meet the Senegalese’s £18 million release clause to bring the 27-year-old to the North East, in a move which could convince manager Benitez of the long-term ambition at Newcastle.
Ultimately, there were many negative vibes coming out of St James’ Park over the summer given that the club appeared to struggle landing key transfer targets. Six players were brought in, one of which was Christian Atsu permanently, with former Borussia Dortmund midfielder Mikel Merino arguably the best of the lot.
But, on the whole, it was an utterly underwhelming window at Newcastle.
Despite the infrastructure, the fan base, and indeed the presence of a highly-regarded manager like Benitez, they struggled to get big deals done, and the Spaniard himself was clearly frustrated throughout the window at their inability to bring more and better players to the club – there was even talk that he would quit such was his frustration.
And Newcastle cannot afford another episode like that in January, so news that they are reportedly planning to break their club transfer record to land Ndiaye is likely what Magpies fans want to hear, not necessarily because they would be getting an influential midfielder, but because it could convince Benitez to keep faith with the club and their ambitions.
One deal isn’t likely to completely sway the Spaniard’s thinking, but spending £18 million on a central midfielder would be a clear statement of intent, both to the fans, the rest of the division, and indeed the manager.
Obviously, whether the proposed takeover happens before the New Year is likely to have a bearing on the deal, but even a new takeover doesn’t necessarily come with promises – getting big deals done and talented players through the door is the best proof.
One senses that the upcoming January transfer window is going to be a pivotal one at Newcastle – it could be the last under Mike Ashley, it could be the first under new ownership, but it could also shape the future of manager Benitez.
And were they to fork out £18 million on Ndiaye in the New Year, that intent and ambition could play a key factor in keeping the Spaniard at St James’ Park for the long term.
Newcastle fans… what do you think? Let us know!