Rafa Benitez’s root and stem rebuild of Newcastle United has excited the resident Geordies in the Transfer Tavern, despite the fact this summer has been rather slow so far.
Indeed, the Spaniard is finally addressing the myriad of problems that culminated in a second relegation within a decade, both on and off the pitch. Still, while the 57-year-old does his best to reconnect the city with the club, there remains a number of problems in his squad.
Namely, the left-back issue.
The likes of Massaido Haidara, Paul Dummett and Achraf Lazaar have struggled to wholly convince over the past few seasons or so and few would doubt the fact that the left side of defence needs fixing up before the new season.
Which is why the club desperately need to beat Watford to the signing of Arsenal and England man Kieran Gibbs this summer. Recent reports suggest the Hornets are in the driving seat for Gibbs, though Benitez must do all he can to prevent that from happening.
The 27-year-old (valued at £8.5m on Transfermarkt) would provide Newcastle with some much-needed stability in that berth, able to operate as either a regular full-back, or even as a wing-back. That sort of tactical fluidity will surely appeal to a mastermind such as Benitez, who will need to freshen things up across the season.
At his age, the Three Lions man will be entering his prime years and still harbour realistic ambitions of making it back into the England squad, so a move to St. James’ Park to play under a Champions League-winning coach may appeal to the player himself.
It’s been a frustrating summer so far for Newcastle United, though signing Gibbs would go some way into seriously strengthening for next term.
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