Can Rafael Benitez work his magic again to move Newcastle further up the Premier League table?

If one were to visit the St. James’ Park during Premier League fixtures, they will find a number of banners and placards applauding Rafael Benitez. In just two seasons at the helm, Benitez has become a cult figure at the club. The Spaniard took over at the dying embers of the 2015-16 season.

While the club finished 10th in the Premier League table last season, the Spanish manager has decided to remain at the club to steer them back to the Premier League in the next season. He managed to keep the club away from relegation last season in spite of owner Mike Ashley not loosening his purse strings. The question on most Magpies fans is whether Benitez will be able to recreate the same magic once again.

 

New Signings

Newcastle has been one of the most inactive sides in the ongoing summer transfer window. The side have made the signing of impressive goalkeeper from last season Martin Dubravka on a permanent basis. They have signed Chelsea winger Kenedy on loan once again. Korean defensive midfielder Ki Sung-Yueng has joined the club from Swansea. Ki is an experienced Premier League midfielder who will add steel to the Newcastle midfield, which is something quite lacking.

With the exception of Jonjo Shelvey, most of the Newcastle midfielders have been poor. However, Ki is a former Sunderland midfielder which happens to be the chief rival of Newcastle United So, Ki will have to win over the Newcastle faithful with his performances.

 

Utilizing Mitrovic

Newcastle will also have the services of Serbian forward Aleksandar Mitrovic back after he spend the second part of last season on loan at Fulham. He helped Fulham achieve promotion back to the Premier League and played a huge part in it. Although Mitrovic was very wasteful for his country at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Fulham are trying to secure a permanent deal for him. If Mitrovic were to remain at Newcastle, Benitez will have to find a way to utilize the Serbian since he is too good to remain on the bench.

 

Removing fringe players

An important task on Benitez’s hand is to remove the fringe players who are at Newcastle United. The cleansing task has already begun with players like Massadio Haidara and Mikel Merino leaving the club for pastures new. Other fringe players like Jack Colback, Matt Ritchie, Isaac Hayden and Henri Saivet must also be sold to generate funds for newer players.

 

Owners need to spend more

Owner Mike Ashley will also need to start spending his money on the club. In the present day and age, all Premier League clubs are spending their funds in order to be better than the rest. A manager like Rafael Benitez will only remain at the club if the club owners are ambitious in their directions with the club. So mere survival in the Premier League should not be the ambition of the club owner. Only then will Rafael Benitez remain at the club to weave his magic once again.

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