Newcastle United supporters in the Transfer Tavern are eagerly anticipating the 2018/19 Premier League season, what with their side seeking to improve upon their impressive tenth place finish this time round.
Rafa Benitez’s men deserve enormous credit for sealing a top-half finish upon their return to the top-flight this term, this all after winning the Championship title little over 12 months before. And having done so on a restricted transfer budget, 58-year-old Benitez will no doubt be looking for significant financial backing this summer to take the club to the next level next season, and perhaps back to its former glories.
As such, there are many expectant and hopeful Magpies supporters in the Tavern at present, several of whom are likely to be interested by recent reports linking Burnley with a move for West Brom striker Jay Rodriguez.
And were Benitez to go some way to solving a key Newcastle problem in attack this summer, he must seek to hijack the Clarets’ move for the £10.8 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt).
Ultimately, while the Magpies were reasonably solid defensively this season and did a decent job in the middle of the park, they certainly let themselves down in the final third of the pitch in scoring just 37 goals in their 38 Premier League matches.
And with only Ayoze Perez managing to reach double figures for the campaign, and the likes of Dwight Gayle and Joselu not always convincing of their abilities, it’s clear what area Benitez must strengthen this summer if Newcastle are indeed to build upon their tenth place finish.
And Rodriguez’s arrival would certainly do just that.
The one-time England international may well have been part of a West Brom side relegated from the top-flight this term, but the 28-year-old certainly did his bit in scoring 11 goals in all competitions for the Baggies, finishing as the club’s top scorer ahead of Salomon Rondon.
And while it took the former Southampton star time to get going at the Hawthorns, he finished the season strongly with goals against Bournemouth, Swansea City, and Manchester United to underline his adeptness in front of goal at Premier League level – the sort of adeptness that Newcastle are crying out for next season.
Yes, it may be difficult for the Magpies to convince Rodriguez against a return to Burnley, what with the Clarets playing European football next term, but whereas it’s not guaranteed that he’d start at Turf Moor, the same can’t be said at St James’ Park, where the 28-year-old would surely become the club’s number one forward.
And if the Magpies are indeed serious about challenging for the European spots next term, they need someone like Rodriguez leading the line, both in terms of putting the ball in the back of the net, but also given the all round ability he brings to the forward ranks, be it strength on the ball but also the energy and pace he brings to the attacking third of the pitch.
Thus, for Benitez to solve a problem area at Newcastle in the striking department, he must seek to hijack Burnley’s move for the 28-year-old Englishman this summer.
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