For years now, Newcastle have lacked strength in depth in the middle of the park and Rafa knows it is a position that needs strengthening this summer.
United must recruit new quality players and also let go of last season’s underperformers and deadweight. Our current players which can play in CM or CAM positions are: Shelvey, Hayden, Colback, Saivet, Ayoze, De Jong and Diame. There is not much depth and quality in this selection so signings will have to be brought in so that we can give the back four the protection it needs whilst also offering a creative outlet with Shelvey.
There is not much depth and quality in this selection so signings will have to be brought in so that we can give the back four the protection it needs whilst also offering a creative outlet to ease the burden on Shelvey.
One option is Fabian Delph. We are currently linked with the 27-year-old but have reportedly been wary of the £12m price tag for the City player. He has not featured much for Manchester City since his 2015 move to the blue side of Manchester because of the higher quality players which already fill his position.
However, at Villa, he was more than decent and consistently produced good performances week in week out, subsequently making him one of the best players for the Villans in his period with the club. He would be an improvement on Colback and would provide rotation for Shelvey since he is a creative playmaker.
Gabriel Pires was linked heavily at the start of the transfer window but the link has seemed to die. The versatile Brazilian would be a decent acquisition for NUFC, especially for his low price. Free transfers Lucas Leiva and Fernando would also be decent signings for rotation.
Leiva already has a connection with Rafa, has experience at competing in at the top of the Premier League and Europe and is very versatile; he would benefit our midfield (as well as other positions) and may help with Hayden’s development since they play a similar role.
Fernando has been at City for a few years now, something which we have missed since Tiote’s departure. The former Porto anchorman would add another dimension to our midfield by being a tough-tackling, no-nonsense enforcer that is able to break up play and protect our backline.
The out-of-favour Jack Wilshere will be available this summer, but he could cost some amount of money. Wilshere spent last season at Bournemouth on loan where he went, surprisingly, injury-free; it is certain that on his day he is quality, as we have seen in his first few seasons in the Arsenal first-team.
His high wages could put a stop to any potential move to St. James’ Park but it would be money well spent in my view. If he could be consistent and injury-free, he’d be a fantastic addition and would take our squad to the next level.
Porto’s Oliver Torres will be available to leave, even though he just permanently signed for the club at the start of the year. The young Spanish attacking midfielder is rated very highly and has over four years of Champions League experience despite being just 22 years of age.
He is able to leave the Portuguese giants as the club need to sell as much as they can to avoid an altercation with FFP this summer. Andre Andre would also be available and although not as impressive as Torres, he could provide more stability and experience.
Both players will be available for just over £15m and are certainly worth the gamble.