The Toon Army in the Transfer Tavern are feeling optimistic about their chances of survival, but they appreciate they have a tough task ahead during the final weeks of the campaign.
Rafa Benitez’s side recorded a priceless victory over Manchester United almost two weeks ago when they scraped a narrow 1-0 win at St James’ Park, but the result has only enabled them to move two points clear of the relegation zone with 11 fixtures still to play. Newcastle United need to take inspiration from that result and ideally record 4 more victories this season if they are to ensure their survival.
Although the quality in The Magpies squad is one of the lowest in the division, the supporters clad in black and white in the tavern believe that Benitez’s managerial expertise will prove to be the difference between relegation and survival this season.
It’s fair to say that Benitez is the star of the show on Tyneside and it’s difficult to imagine that the club would be outside of the bottom-three with another manager. With that in mind, it’s imperative that he is significantly backed in the transfer market next season, regardless of whether Mike Ashley or Amanda Staveley is the owner of the club.
If Benitez is given the adequate funds to strengthen his squad then Newcastle could make a genuine push for Europa League football next season, due to the narrow margins in the English top-flight. From 7th place Burnley down to West Brom in 20th place, there is very little to split the teams, so the signing of just a few key players could enable The Magpies to compete for qualification to Europe next season.
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However, Benitez might not need to spend any money at all to secure his first marque signing, as Mario Balotelli (valued at £19.8 million by Transfermarkt) is set to become a free agent when his contract at Nice expires in June. Balotelli requires little introduction to supporters of Premier League clubs who have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly with regards to the striker.
The Italian international was no stranger to controversy during his time at both Manchester City and Liverpool, but since he departed the club the 27-year-old has developed a maturity that very few thought he would ever achieve. His record in France speaks for itself, as he has bagged 38 goals from 56 appearances during his time at Nice. There is no doubt that he is a top quality striker on his day, and his presence on Tyneside would certainly give Newcastle an opportunity to challenge for a top-six finish.
Balotelli, has come of age since leaving English football, even if his questionable disciplinary record perhaps suggests otherwise. Despite this, Benitez would be foolish not to give the club a huge boost in their aspirations for the season by bringing a player of pure quality to St James’ Park.