Newcastle United supporters have been pretty downbeat in the Transfer Tavern in recent days, what with their side bowing out of the FA Cup on Sunday, before suffering a huge blow by failing to land striker Daniel Sturridge on Monday.
Rafa Benitez’s men earned their spot in the last 32 of the world’s oldest club competition after beating Luton Town in the previous round, but a brace from Michy Batshuayi and a Marcos Alonso free-kick sealed a 3-0 win for last year’s runners-up Chelsea on Sunday, thus bringing to an end the Magpies’ FA Cup run. And their misery was further compounded on Monday as reports suggested that they were close to signing Liverpool striker Sturridge, only for West Brom to announce the 28-year-old on a loan deal until the end of the season.
Consequently, there have been many disappointed and angry Newcastle fans in the Tavern in the last few days, several of whom are sincerely hoping that their side can bring in reinforcements between now and tomorrow’s deadline in a bid to bolster their ranks ahead of a likely relegation battle.
And one man who could reportedly be on the way to St James’ Park is Manchester City centre-back Eliaquim Mangala, who looks set to fall even further down Pep Guardiola’s pecking order following the arrival of Aymeric Laporte.
And while Benitez has reportedly sought after the Frenchman since the summer, bringing him in now would make absolutely no sense whatever, as it is not defensively where Newcastle need strengthening, but going forward.
Their tally of 34 goals conceded in their opening 24 Premier League matches is not at all bad, with Brighton and West Brom the only two sides in the bottom half of the division to have conceded fewer.
Captain Jamaal Lascelles has performed particularly well at the heart of their backline while Ciaran Clark and Florian Lejeune has also been solid – the likes of Paul Dummett and Chancel Mbemba, should the latter remain at the club, could also fill in at centre-half if needed.
Ultimately, the Magpies could get away without bolstering their defensive ranks in the last knockings of the window, and it’s even arguable that, based on Mangala’s efforts in English football so far in his career, the Frenchman isn’t even an upgrade on the likes of Lascelles, Clark, and Lejeune.
More importantly though, it is going forward where the North East giants simply have to strengthen – 22 goals in 24 league matches is simply not good enough and isn’t going to get the job done. The top goal-scorers at the club this season are Joselu and Ayoze Perez with just four goals apiece.
So while Newcastle fans may be crying out for any signing in the final few days of the window, Mangala is one that just wouldn’t make any sense whatsoever – they don’t need urgent defensive reinforcements, and the Frenchman hasn’t proven to be any better than their current options.
As such, Benitez must focus his efforts on more pressing matters than attempting to bring the £13.5 million-rated star (as per Transfermarkt) to St James’ Park before tomorrow’s deadline.
Newcastle fans… what do you think? Let us know!
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