Newcastle are looking more likely to be plying their trade in the Premier League again next season, after another post-Christmas magic trick performed by Rafa The Great.
There are many comparisons between this season and last, but the one constant is that neither would have been possible without their Spanish wizard Rafa Benitez.
It is imperative that the club convince him to sign a new contract at St James’ Park, and they should be pulling out all the stops to do so.
The best way to extend his stay is to let him know that their vision for the future matches his.
One way to do that is to make signings that are a statement of intent.
The Newcastle transfer blueprint has long been known — buy talent under the age of 25, and see their value increase as they are nurtured by one of the best coaches and tacticians in the game.
While this philosophy has some merit, it is which talent they bring in that will ultimately prove whether it works or not.
With a midfield overhaul on the cards, Newcastle will need someone to partner their academy graduate, and now key member (when fit) of their midfield, Sean Longstaff.
James Ward-Prowse would be the perfect fit for Newcastle and their transfer policy. He is 24-years-old, English and a rising star in the Premier League — as recognised by his call-up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad this week.
Southampton are still in serious danger of going down, and with Ward-Prowse now getting a sniff of international football, he will surely not be keen on playing Championship football, should the worst happen to the Saints.
He has scored six goals in 21 appearances for the South coast club this season, and his ability to control games from the middle of the park is exactly what Newcastle need.
The last time Newcastle made (and tried) such an ambitious signing was Shelvey himself back in 2016 from Swansea – prizing a talented fairly young England international from a fellow Premier League struggler – and look how well that turned out.
Why not give it a go? With talk of a potential marquee signing coming in (as per the Chronicle) to appease Benitez, a player of Ward-Prowse’s profile would be excellent.
What would you make of Newcastle bringing in a player like James Ward-Prowse? Would he be the perfect fit? Let us know what you think…
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