As quoted by ChronicleLive, Rafa Benitez has revealed that Newcastle United may have to do business in January thanks to the African Cup of Nations – pleasing our Magpies in the Transfer Tavern.
Indeed, our local Geordies here by the bar have been wondering just how much the tournament will impact their campaign at the start of 2017 with as many as four players possibly leaving the squad.
Cheick Tiote, Christian Atsu, Mohamed Diame and Achraf Lazaar could all be called up to the competition in Gabon and that would leave the Championship leaders short over a crucial period of the season.
That factor simply cannot be ignored, particularly by a man as meticulous as the former Liverpool boss, and so whilst he’s happy with what he has Benitez has said that he will be considering possible new recruits.
The Champions League winner explained:
“At the moment I am happy with the squad.
“But if we have to bring somebody in, we have to keep it in our heads that we will lose maybe four players for the African Cup of Nations.
“We are looking for players in a certain position.
“I have analysed with the staff and we can manage if we don’t find the right player.
“But obviously we will try to improve the squad.”
Newcastle had been threatening to run away and hide with the league this season but have been reeled in somewhat in recent weeks, highlighting the sheer competitive nature of the second tier.
Indeed, they are now only a point clear of Brighton in the table and will need to be on top form against Birmingham City this weekend at St. James’ Park.
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