While recent results have dampened the mood amongst the Newcastle United fans in the Transfer Tavern somewhat, there’s little doubt our Tyneside-based drinkers are at their happiest in years.
With Rafa Benitez at the helm at St. James’ Park, the Toon Army look primed to march once more after perhaps the most stagnant period in the club’s history drove the club into the ground over the past few years.
Still, as much potential as the Magpies have these days, the January transfer market is a crunch period for the Spanish coach at St. James’ Park.
It’s simply crucial he wins promotion back to the Premier League at the first time of asking and, while it’s looked like an inevitability at times this term, that will be no easy feat.
As Brighton and Hove Albion lead the way in the Championship and the likes of Leeds and Reading keep up their chase for second place, it’s vitally important Benitez gets this month right.
Enter, Tom Cleverley.
The Everton midfielder has been linked with a move to the North East in recent weeks as his career in the Premier League continues to stall.
Often made a scapegoat for wider failing at both England and Manchester United over the years, the 27-year-old looks to have been frozen out of the picture at Goodison Park by Ronald Koeman. Still, perhaps a move to Newcastle can get all parties back on track.
Cleverley is no doubt a talented player and, despite his distinct lack of football over the last few months, could really flourish in the Championship. As we’ve seen with the likes of Jonjo Shelvey in black and white, dropping down a division can help a creative midfielder really find his best form once more.
Confidence is key for a player in that position and the notion of spraying passes against teams (with all due respect) players of this ilk really shouldn’t be playing can help shake off some mental cobwebs.
For the Toon also, the absence of Shelvey during his five-game ban is a gutting one, with the side often running out of ideas less than an hour into games without his masterful presence pulling the strings.
Introducing more creativity into the ranks simply has to be a priority this month and Cleverley could be a very smart signing indeed on that front as he enters what should be his prime.
Crucially, he could also realistically still perform in the Premier League should the Magpies win promotion, which is important to Benitez as he looks to restore very former glories to a club that’s been on their knees.
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