Celebrating their very good win over Rotherham to return to the top of the Championship over the course of the weekend, the Newcastle United fans in the Transfer Tavern were met with some stunning reports emanating out of Croatia.
There had been suggestions the Toon had made a stunning £25m double bid for Dinamo Zagreb pair Ante Coric and Filip Benković by their club. While, obviously, it’s a story that should be taken with a pinch of salt, perhaps it signals just what the Toon’s revised transfer policy will be.
Much has been made of late about the supposed differences Rafa Benitez and Mike Ashley have in the market, putting uneasy ideas of a power struggle on Tyneside in the heads of the Geordie faithful in the Tavern. Still, perhaps a move of this ilk is indicative of a potential compromise between the two.
Coric, in particular, would be a huge coup to the black and white cause, having previously been linked with a move to the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham. A supremely gifted playmaker, he’s been compared to Luka Modric already and the Magpies know all too well about that man indeed.
Clearly one of the most talented youngsters in Europe, the idea of seeing him plying his trade at St. James’ Park while a coach as respected as Benitez brings the club forward before, inevitably, moving on to a European house isn’t as bad as it sounds. Obviously, the idea of players using St. James’ Park as a stepping stone is something the club have been trying to move against, but never before have they had a man in charge to actually move things along when players leave.
That philosophy has worked wonders at clubs before, though Newcastle simply stood still in years gone by under the likes of Alan Pardew. Under Benitez, players might leave. That’s football. Still, you get the feeling the club would be far better suited to it and could potentially rise up the Premier League.