The Toon Army have been celebrating in the Transfer Tavern this week after watching their side all but secure their place in the Premier League with a priceless 2-1 victory over Leicester City on Saturday afternoon.
Rafa Benitez’s side have staged a brilliant climb up the league table in recent weeks by taking 13 points from their last available 18, moving into 10th place in the process. The Magpies are now just 2 points shy of the safe-haven which the 40-point mark so notoriously promises, and with 6 fixtures remaining to achieve that target, it seems certain that they will avoid an immediate return to The Championship this season.
Benitez will deservedly take plenty of credit for what he has achieved on Tyneside with limited resources, but the new season should give him an opportunity to splash the cash somewhat, providing he remains at the club of course. There has been little discussion of the negotiations between Mike Ashley and Amanda Staveley in recent months following a period of time where they were a focal point of conversation amongst the punters clad in black and white propping up our bar.
Considering Newcastle’s league position has been under threat for the vast majority of the season so far, it’s fair to assume that negotiations were put on ice whilst the season played out, but now that their survival has more or less been secured its likely that Staveley or another financially strong investor will make Ashley a concrete offer in the summer. If that proves to be the case then Benitez should have a transfer war chest to utilise, and he would be wise to place his focus on signing a new striker.
The likes of Dwight Gayle, and to a lesser extent Joselu have worked diligently for Benitez at the spearhead of Newcastle’s attack this season, but they have been lacking the clinical edge that is needed to compete at the highest level of English football.
On the other hand, West Ham’s Javier Hernandez (valued at £16.2 million by Transfermarkt) certainly possesses a poacher’s instinct which is desperately lacking at St James’ Park, and considering he is ready for a new challenge in the summer according to The Daily Mirror, Benitez should do everything in his power to sign the Mexican international.
The report claims that Hernandez is frustrated with his lack of first-team opportunities at the club and that he is ready to leave the London Stadium in search of first-team football. Considering Newcastle’s lack of quality options at centre-forward, Hernandez should have no problem finding plenty of opportunities in the North-East, and that fact combined with his personal motivation to embark on a new challenge should make negotiations between the two clubs relatively straight-forward.
West Ham will presumably be reluctant to sell Hernandez just one season after he signed from Bayer Leverkusen, but they would rather allow him to leave than have an unhappy player disrupting the dressing room, so Newcastle should take advantage of this and finally solve their goal-scoring crisis in the summer.
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