Premier League transfer window: Who should Newcastle sign?
The manager will be the centre of attention at St James' this summer...
Last Updated: 17/05/19 12:07pm
Having kept Newcastle in the Premier League once again, Rafa Benitez has made no secret of the fact he believes he should be given more money in the transfer market to help the club reach its potential.
Benitez's team finished 13th after a strong end to the season having been boosted by the arrival of £21m record-signing Miguel Almiron in January. That came after a summer window in which the Spaniard, working on a limited budget, brought in Fabian Schar, Ki Sung-yueng and Yoshinori Muto, among others, while Salomon Rondon was brought in on loan.
Keeping the Venezuelan is sure to be high on Newcastle's to-do list but, should he be provided with the funds, who else could come in to strengthen Benitez's group this time around? And who could be heading for the exit door? Read on to find out…
The pundit's verdict
Phil Thompson: "Newcastle is a conundrum. I think they need to tie Rafael Benitez down. The things he has done at Newcastle have been totally phenomenal. Sometimes he gives the hint he is staying and sometimes he gives the hint he is leaving.
"If they could in any way, shape or form keep this manager, it would be great. He is the biggest signing they could make this summer."
What do the stats say?
Somewhat unsurprisingly, Newcastle struggle to score goals. Despite scoring six in their final two league games, Benitez's side managed just 42 across the season, only the bottom three and 17th-placed Brighton scored fewer.
Converting the chances they do create has been another problem. Just 9.42 per cent of their shots end up in the back of the net, again putting them 16th in the rankings.
Defensively, as you might expect of a Benitez side, Newcastle were strong. They conceded fewer goals than both Manchester United and Arsenal, while they kept more clean sheets than either. In fact, only six teams had more shutouts than Newcastle's 11.
The manager's view
Benitez on the need for investment: "This will be a really important transfer window for this club. It will be really important not to make mistakes.
"The city, the club, everyone in Newcastle is supporting the team so it's massive. I'm not saying £200m but doing a little bit more, doing the right things, we can compete against the teams that are now maybe between seventh and 12th. But we have to do things right.
"You can do everything right, your tactics, your team selection, your substitutions but if the other team has one player who can make the difference… that is now the Premier League. If you want to sign one of the forward players from Leicester now, you have to pay £30m.
"So we have to be more competitive in the window, we have to do things in the right way and then you have massive, massive potential in Newcastle."
Benitez on Rondon: "It's very easy to say we have to sign him, but still we have to decide what is going on with me. Obviously he has to wait and see what happens with West Brom, so all these things will have to wait a couple of weeks."
What we know - The Sky Sports News insight
Keith Downie: "Newcastle's summer shopping list all depends on the future of their manager. Rafa Benitez's contract is up on June 30 and he's yet to agree a new one.
"If - and it looks likely - he does stay, top of his list will be pinning down Rondon on a permanent transfer. The Venezuelan has been a revelation on his season-long loan from West Brom, but Newcastle would have to rip up their policy of only signing players aged 26 or under for Benítez to get his man.
"In addition to Rondon, Newcastle are in the market for a couple of midfielders, a full-back on either side and another forward to pair with record signing Miguel Almiron.
"Do not be surprised to see Newcastle smash that £21m transfer record again this summer, but the number of arrivals will depend on outgoings - the futures of Isaac Hayden, Jonjo Shelvey, Matt Ritchie, Mo Diame and Ayoze Perez are uncertain."
Which positions are Newcastle targeting?
Newcastle will seek to bring in a striker given the uncertainty surrounding Rondon, while a young left wing-back, another central midfielder and right winger are also areas that need strengthening.
Read on: The summer transfer plan series continues...
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