Newcastle United supporters in the Transfer Tavern have taken the time recently to look back at their team’s ultimately successful season to date, and indeed look ahead to what business their side must conduct in the summer transfer window.
Rafa Benitez’s men secured their place in the top-flight for next season courtesy of a four-match winning streak between March and April, with victories over Southampton, Huddersfield Town, Leicester City, and Arsenal thrusting them into the top ten. And while results since then haven’t quite been as good, our resident Magpies supporters have been paying tribute to the job Benitez has done this term, especially given the lack of investment in the playing squad in the last few transfer windows.
As such, those Newcastle fans lining up at the bar are very aware that reinforcements will be needed over the summer to take the club to the next level next season, and even to keep Benitez at the club given his past frustrations at their transfer policy.
In the meantime though, there has been much for our resident Magpies supporters to discuss, not least recent reports that striker Islam Slimani has returned to Leicester City, with a permanent move seemingly unlikely this summer.
And given the debacle surrounding Slimani’s loan spell at the North East giants in the last few months, Newcastle must now turn their attentions to landing another striker this summer, with Tottenham’s £7.2 million-rated Fernando Llorente (as per Transfermarkt) one they should seek to bring in.
Ultimately, Slimani’s time at Newcastle has been blighted by an injury he had prior to moving to St James’ Park, with a thigh problem ultimately keeping him out until the rear end of March, and thus missing a whole host of crucial league matches.
And following a three-match ban for lashing out at Ahmed Hegazi last month, the Algeria international has finished his loan spell with just four appearances to show for his endeavours, of which he failed to net in any.
Clearly, it was a complete debacle and one Benitez will hope won’t be repeated over the summer – Slimani certainly doesn’t appear to be returning to the club on a permanent basis.
Instead, the Magpies should seek to bring Llorente to the North East, as although he has endured a tough time at Tottenham this term, he has proven his credentials in English football to suggest that he could be the striker they are after.
The 33-year-old joined Mauricio Pochettino’s side last summer but has since only managed to net once for the North London club, with the Spaniard seemingly struggling to play second-fiddle to first-choice Spurs forward Harry Kane.
However, one mustn’t forget the hugely impressive 15 goals he scored for Swansea City in the season before to help keep them in the top-flight – their struggles this term could certainly be put somewhat down to his departure last summer.
And given the partnership he struck up with Gylfi Sigurdsson last time out, it’s clear that Llorente has the ability and indeed the credentials to score goals at Premier League level, while he also possesses the all round game to lead the line for Newcastle next term, something Benitez seemingly wants from his front men.
And with the likes of Matt Ritchie and Kenedy out wide, should they seal a deal for the latter, the Spain international will surely get plenty of opportunities to score for the Magpies, with it arguable that a goal-scorer is the one thing preventing Newcastle from moving to the next level.
As such, with Slimani not set to return to Tyneside after his debacle of a loan spell, the Magpies must now turn their attentions to luring Llorente to the North East.
Newcastle fans… what do you think? Let us know!
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