After an incredible end to the season this past weekend, the jubilant Newcastle United fans can’t be excused for contemplating who their club may end up signing this summer upon returning to the Premier League. After incredibly pipping Brighton to the Championship title, it was common knowledge that Rafael Benitez met with club owner Mike Ashley to discuss matters relating closely to the amount of money Benitez can spend this summer preparing for their assault on the Premier League.
If early rumours are to be believed, Mike Ashley will have to hand Benitez a huge transfer kitty in order to keep the Champions League winner at the club beyond this season and many are speculating that they could spend upwards of 70 million pounds replacing and drafting in new talent in order to gain a stranglehold on the Premier League once again. Many fans believe that several areas of the pitch need strengthening and in this article, three potential summer signings have been highlighted as players that could make the move to St James’ Park.
First on the list is Tom Cairney. Cairney needs little to no introduction as the former Hull City man shone brightly when Fulham managed to trump Newcastle on their own turf just a couple of months ago in an emphatic 3-1 win. Cairney, who scored in sensational fashion, ran the game from the middle of the park and rarely looked troubled throughout. It’s fairly common knowledge too that Benitez tends to look into signing players that have impressed against his own sides, with Yossi Benayoun and Robbie Keane standing out most notably during his tenure at Liverpool. Benayoun caught the eye while at West Ham and Robbie Keane looked dangerous on several occasions when Tottenham clashed with the Liverpool.
Cairney, who has seemingly been Mr. Reliable for Fulham over the past couple of seasons, has scored 12 goals this campaign in his 44 appearances along with 8 goals in the 2015/16 campaign, notching up an impressive 39 appearances in the process. Realistically speaking, Cairney could and more than likely should be making the step up to the Premier League in the summer and if Fulham don’t find success in the play-offs, I can see a move to Newcastle United being a strong possibility. Figures of around 8-12 million pounds have been quoted and to me, that seems like a fair price for a player that possesses such a vast array of technical talent. With that being said, if Fulham do find success in the play-offs and gain promotion to the Premier League then United will more than likely have to look elsewhere.
Next up is a rather controversial player in the form of Moussa Sissoko. Sissoko, who left Newcastle last season for Tottenham Hotspur, has struggled to break into an ever improving Spurs side and there are murmurings of a return to Tyneside for the Frenchman. For what it’s worth, it was pretty evident that Benitez rated Sissoko upon his arrival at Newcastle and Sissoko, despite his lack of technical ability, could provide this new look United side with the energy, drive and the Premier League experience required to remain in the division and compete with the top teams in English football.
It’s fair to say however that it wouldn’t be a popular signing as quite a majority of Newcastle fans were delighted to see the back of him – many regarded the 27 year old as one of the primary reasons Newcastle originally got relegated to the Championship last term, but it’s also clear that there’s a select minority that appreciated what he brought to the side and would welcome the midfielder back. Personally, I don’t see how having a player of Sissoko’s caliber back in the first team fold would put the club in danger of relegation again and it’s fair to say that Benitez is a coach that gets the best from driven and hardworking players that fit the Sissoko mould.
The third and final player on this article’s shortlist is the current Napoli shot-stopper, Pepe Reina, who looks likely to heading out of Italy in the summer with no destination currently set in stone. Reina was signed for Liverpool in 2006 by Benitez and starred for the Reds over many years, before leaving the club in 2013 for Napoli, who were then managed by Benitez. It’s fairly evident that the two Spaniards have a healthy footballing relationship and it wouldn’t surprise me if the 34 year old was wearing the Newcastle colours come next season.
In an ideal world, Reina could be drafted in as the new number one and also provide the perfect tutelage for a young and perhaps inexperienced Karl Darlow, who’s had his critics this campaign, but is well liked throughout the Newcastle fanbase. With that being said, the likelihood of Reina joining Newcastle could be extremely slim if Tim Krul rejoins the club after his loan spell with AZ Alkmaar draws to a conclusion. Whether Krul remains at the club is yet to be seen.
Ultimately, it’s going to be an extremely intriguing summer with many faces leaving the club and many new faces joining the club come July and beyond.