Newcastle United supporters have been reasonably despondent in the Transfer Tavern this week after seeing their side lose 1-0 at Burnley on Monday night, thus suffering a fourth Premier League defeat of the campaign.
Rafa Benitez’s men went into their clash at Turf Moor unbeaten in their preceding three league matches, and would have had high hopes of recording a fourth league victory of the season in Lancashire on Monday. However, the Magpies were far from their best and a Jeff Hendrick strike 16 minutes from time was enough to secure all three points for Sean Dyche’s side, who in turn moved above the North East giants into seventh place in the Premier League table.
Thus, there has been a subdued atmosphere in the Tavern among our resident Newcastle supporters, many of whom are trying to forget Monday’s clash and instead focus on another crucial league encounter this coming weekend against Eddie Howe’s struggling Bournemouth.
And Monday’s defeat at Burnley did somewhat highlight the Magpies’ need to dive into the transfer window when it reopens in January, and one man they are reportedly keeping tabs on ahead of the winter market is midfielder Papa Badou Ndiaye.
The 27-year-old moved to Turkish giants Galatasaray during the summer after impressing in a two-year stint at Super Lig rivals Osmanlispor, for whom he bagged 18 goals in 75 games to help to a fifth place finish in 2016, and a 13th place finish last season.
Yet the Senegal international hasn’t quite hit the heights so far at his new club, but it hasn’t stopped several Premier League clubs, including Newcastle and West Ham, reportedly monitoring the midfielder’s progress ahead of a possible move in January.
And it is Benitez’s Newcastle who must look to get a deal done for Ndiaye ahead of Slaven Bilic’s West Ham, as the Magpies are in need of further midfield options and his arrival could free up the likes of Jonjo Shelvey to have a greater influence on proceedings.
Ultimately, Benitez shuffled his pack on Monday night and brought Mo Diame into the centre of midfield alongside England international Shelvey, but the former offered next to nothing and endured a torrid evening at Turf Moor to suggest that he cannot be regularly called or trusted upon in that midfield.
Thus, that leaves Benitez with Shelvey, Mikel Merino, and Isaac Hayden as his main midfield options, and while that is a strong trio who have all started the season well, injuries and suspensions will take their toll over the long season that is the Premier League.
So bringing someone like Ndiaye, who is combative, industrious, while also has shown attacking pedigree in the past, could be exactly what they need to increase the competition in those areas, as well as supply the sufficient midfield depth needed at top-flight level.
And although the 27-year-old hasn’t scored as many goals this season, it does appear that he has been playing in a slightly deeper midfield role, yet it is his box-to-box dynamism which could really benefit Newcastle, as he is as adept going forward as he is going back.
And that could free up someone like Shelvey, whose vision and ability to pick a pass came to the fore late on against Burnley on Monday night but ultimately wasn’t enough to unlock the Clarets backline.
But giving him slightly more licence to roam free and find space from which he can launch attacks can only help Newcastle this season, what with the Englishman being as good as anyone in that Magpies squad on the ball.
And landing Ndiaye and getting him in the side could help bring that about, so not only would his arrival bolster numbers and increase the competition, but it may also make Newcastle, and indeed someone like Shelvey, even more effective.
Thus, they have to beat West Ham to his signature come the New Year.
Newcastle fans… what do you make of the news? Let us know!