Newcastle will be hoping to pick up their first win of the season against Arsenal when the Premier League returns.
The Magpies head into the international break stuck in the relegation zone with just one point from their opening four fixtures. Rafael Benitez wasn’t given funds to strengthen his squad during the summer transfer window and was handed a tough opening fixture list. Things do not get easier with in-form Arsenal next up following the conclusion of the international ties.
The former Liverpool boss was widely criticised for his perceived negative tactics against both Manchester City and Chelsea. It’s likely Benitez will revert to his favoured 4-2-3-1 against Arsenal, but the problems with Newcastle’s attack aren’t a result of the formation. The Magpies lack a true number ten who can bring the likes of Salomon Rondon in the attack.
When the January transfer window reopens, Newcastle should consider a move for CSKA Moscow playmaker – Alan Dzagoev. Valued at £13.5m by Transfermarkt, the 28-year-old was considered one of the brightest prospects emerging from Russia after starring for his country at Euro 2012. Reports suggest Real Madrid were once keeping a close eye on his development in his homeland.
However, Dzagoev has failed to kick on since the tournament with injuries severely hampering his progress. He made 21 appearances in the Russian Premier League last season, scoring three times as well as registering six assists; showing his quality is still there when he is fit. The Russian now has less than one year remaining on his contract meaning Newcastle could land a bargain in January.
If Dzagoev can put his injury troubles behind him, he could be an inspired addition to the squad. Averaging 1.8 key passes per game last season (WhoScored), he is the playmaker Newcastle need to get their attackers firing again. Potentially available at a great price on a free, this one should be a no-brainer.
Newcastle fans, thoughts