Newcastle fans can have their say on where Benitez’s side can finish in the PL next season

 

Newcastle have returned to the Premiership at the first time of asking and now Rafa Benitez can restore some pride to the club – but only if he is backed in the transfer market. We are lucky to have a Champions League winning manager, who has held top jobs at Real Madrid, Liverpool and Chelsea. He stuck by the club after a relegation that wasn’t his fault, and he has brought us straight back up to the top flight. Mike Ashley needs to keep him happy and back him with significant transfer funds and let him choose the players we recruit this summer.

 

There can be no more duds like Florian Thauvin, Remy Cabella and Emmanuel Riviere. The Graham Carr era has seen some shockers. Ashley has finally loosened the purse strings in recent years, but the money has been ill-spent and the signings have too frequently been disastrous. Thauvin, Cabella and Riviere are three of the worst, expensive flops that provided the team with a soft underbelly and never got close to justifying their price tags.

 

The list goes on and on. Seydou Doumbia, Sylvain Marveaux, Yoan Gouffran and Facundo Ferreyra are four more recent examples of poor recruitment. These are players that were untested in the Premiership and ill-suited to its physical demands. All in all, a colossal waste of money. Few signings in recent times can really be branded a success. The club made a big profit on Mohamed Sissoko, but he did not do much to keep Newcastle in the Premiership. Georginio Wijnaldum shone at times but could have been more consistent. Siem de Jong has looked more crooked than bargain attacking midfielder. Aleksandar Mitrovic could not get the goals to keep Newcastle in the Premiership last season and scored just four times all season in the Championship this time around. Vurnon Anita has looked out of his depth in the Championship.

 

But under Benitez, we had a good transfer window last summer. Dwight Gayle was an inspired signing. Ditto Matt Ritchie. These players were always going to do well in the Championship. They duly delivered and we have gone straight back up. Now we need to ensure we don’t suffer another painful relegation by building a side capable of breaking into the top half of the Premiership and staying there.

 

Read a Betonline review and visit their website for Premier League odds, and analyse the lines that bookmakers are offering on the 2017-18, and you will see that Newcastle are 750/1 to win the league. We aren’t going to do a Leicester and win it under Benitez. The only clubs given longer odds of winning the league are Brighton, Burnley and Watford. But now is the time to stabilise and re-establish the club as a force in the Premiership. Southampton are a good model of stability and progression in recent years. Newcastle are a bigger club and there is no reason why they cannot be finishing above Southampton in the league and challenging the likes of Everton for a Europa League place over the next couple of years – if they give Benitez the freedom to operate in the transfer market and back him with the funds he needs.

Newcastle have the bones of a decent side. Gayle, Ritchie, Jonjo Shelvey, Ayoze Perez, Jamaal Lascelles and Christian Atsu – if he joins on a permanent basis – are all decent players that could thrive in the Premiership. But they need a lot more. They brought in 12 new players last summer and a similar influx is needed this time around. They need to spend big but also invest wisely. No more Gallic players with big reputations they cannot justify. Newcastle need players of proven Premiership quality.

 

They could raid the relegated teams for their stars. Jermain Defoe would be a controversial signing but he is exactly the type of player we need. Players like Ahmed Elmohamady of Hull and Gaston Ramirez of Middlesbrough could also do a job. If Fulham don’t make it out of the playoffs, they could go for the likes of Ryan Sessegnon and Tom Cairney. What about giving Celtic stars like Scott Sinclair a return to the Premiership? And loaning more players from top Premiership clubs.
Nathan Ake was a revelation at Bournemouth this season, and they also got Jack Wilshere from Arsenal. We could pull off similar coups in the loan market, looking at the bloated squads of Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal. We could sign and reinvigorate some fringe players from the likes of Everton and Liverpool. Players like Kevin Mirallas that don’t play every week could become stars at St James’ Park. A couple of inspired signings from overseas wouldn’t go amiss either, but the focus should be on experienced Premiership players for our first season back in the top flight. Get it right and we can finish in the top half. Get recruitment wrong and Benitez could walk, and even if he stays it could end up a long and miserable season.

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