The Newcastle United fans here in the Transfer Tavern are now confident of Premier League survival. While the Toon Army are by no means out of the woods yet, their famous win over Manchester United went down a storm amongst the punters propping up our bar and the power of St. James’ Park was tapped into for the first time in months.
With that in mind, our resident Geordies have started to turn their attentions towards potential summer targets. Indeed, while a transfer window is never an enjoyable experience under the ownership of Mike Ashley, they hope Rafa Benitez will be able to strengthen, pending Premier League survival of course.
Obviously, a striker is the main priority on Tyneside right now, though the Magpies’ search for a new one will largely depend on how Islam Slimani fits in when he returns from injury. So, having said that, Benitez can probably afford to look elsewhere in an attempt to introduce more quality into his ranks.
Newcastle lack the kind of No.10 so important to the 4-2-3-1 formation so associated with Benitez. Ayoze Perez continues to frustrate our punters clad in black and white with his largely anonymous performances behind the central striker, so that should be the berth on which the Magpies spend big on this summer.
Having said that, Benitez could do a lot worse than moving for Aston Villa star Jack Grealish. The 22-year-old creative midfielder is slowly starting to fulfil his potential and is helping Steve Bruce get the club back on track, though could surely be tempted away should a big offer come in.
Obviously, if Villa do go up, that could complicate matters, though Newcastle certainly need to make a big transfer statement soon. Grealish is already a popular figure on Tyneside, having scored late against Brighton last season to take the Championship title to St. James’ Park and his quality is there for all to see.
Valued at just £4.5m by the good people over at Transfermarkt, Grealish’s potential could see him grow into a big player in the North East, developing under one of the best managers of the last 20 years or so.