After finishing in 18th place in the Premier League and suffering the unthinkable fate of relegation under Rafael Benitez, big changes were afoot at St James’ Park in the 2016 summer transfer window.
Any side who gets relegated from the top-flight will be acutely aware of the inevitable scenario which follows as top-flight clubs prepare to circle around a multitude of potential bargains. Newcastle were no exception to the rule in 2016, despite boasting an impressive infrastructure and strong credentials to return to the top-flight at the first time of asking under the Spaniard.
But Rafa’s influence wasn’t enough to convince Dutch full-back Daryl Janmaat to remain on Tyneside and, in order to fill the void left by his move to Watford, Newcastle concluded a deal worth £5.31 million for DeAndre Yedlin on August 24th 2016.
It was a deal which raised plenty of eyebrows in the north east following his season-long loan spell with Sunderland, and the Magpies faithful were clearly impressed by what they had seen for the American during the 2015/16 campaign.
Here’s what the fans had to say following his arrival:
— Adam. (@AdamNUFC_) August 24, 2016
— Porter (@blacknwhite417) August 24, 2016
Another fantastic signing! Keep 'em coming Big Man! @rafabenitezweb
— The Ipswich Magpie (@IpswichMagpie) August 24, 2016
Love this move! Welcome DeAndre!
— Chris Colwell (@ChrisX666) August 24, 2016
— Daryl Taylor (@darylbethyname) August 24, 2016
— COREY (@TopToon99) August 24, 2016
Great signing… Rafa should convert him into a winger because his pace and his crossing is top class
— James Shaw (@James_shaw11) August 24, 2016
Rafa's transfer policy is bang on; brought in Diamé before Sissoko leaves, bringing in Yedlin before Janmaat leaves. Very refreshing. #NUFC
— Charlie Mackenzie (@C_Mackenzie) August 23, 2016
Clearly, there was a deep felt enthusiasm for the transfer despite his connection with their fiercest rival. Initially, Yedlin struggled to establish himself as a first-team regular, but he managed to cement his place as Benitez’s first-choice right-back at the turn of the year as Newcastle embarked on a ten match unbeaten run with him in the side before a hamstring injury ruled him out for six games.
Back in the top-flight once again, Yedlin is beginning to blossom into a decent player at this level and he has become a mainstay in the Magpies’ back-four.
While it’s unlikely that too many Newcastle supporters would label him as better than Janmaat, he represented a fine piece of business for the club at a time when they needed to secure a quality replacement for their first-choice right-back – and that’s exactly what Benitez managed to do.
Newcastle fans – thoughts on Yedlin? Let us know below!