5 Players NUFC Should Target as the Window Closes

Words by Aziz Khalil – follow him on Twitter @azizk47. Written for NUFC360 – a new brand aiming to bring you all things Newcastle United. Be sure to follow for updates.

With the transfer window coming to a close, Newcastle United have spent nearly £50 in incoming transfers. This is the most Mike Ashley has sanctioned in funds in a single window, topping last summer’s £38 million. As a matter of fact, 3 of the top 5 most expensive Newcastle United signings came this summer; #5 Florian Thauvin (£12m), #4 Aleksandar Mitrovic (£13m) and Georginio Wijnaldum (£14.5m).

Even with the spending and trying to fix the mess Alan Pardew left behind, Mike Ashley and the director’s board have finally omitted to addressing various needs on this roster. At the beginning of the window, you could make an argument that Newcastle United needed 2 CBs, ST, Winger, CM and LB; and that was only if no players were sold. So far they have addressed 4 out of those 5 positions and the only big name players that left are Mehdi Abeid and Remy Cabella. They addressed one of the CB positions with Chancel Mbemba, who looks like a superstar. Mitrovic signing addressed the striker position, but if Cissé is sold in the closing days of the transfer window, NUFC could be easily enticed into pursuing another forward. The Thauvin signing fixed the issue at winger and Wijnaldum addressed the need for another CM.

Despite all of these signings, there are still some needs across the club’s roster. Is Massadio Haidara the answer at LB? Mitrovic has discipline issues and is having a hard time staying on the field; could that be an issue? What happens if Coloccini or Mbemba get hurt? Is NUFC comfortable with Steven Taylor? We keep saying this but the club has a lot of quantity but lacks quality. Here are 5 names that Newcastle United should look at as the transfer window closes:

5) CB Joel Matip (Schalke 04): 6’3, 196 lbs, 25 years old. Cameroon international, valued at approximately £10 million. Matip would be the perfect fit, at his height and length, next to a 6’0 Mbemba. He has been linked to Newcastle all summer long and the rumours won’t go away, despite him committing to Schalke for at least another year. Newcastle would have one of the youngest and up and coming stars at CB together. Fabricio Coloccini is 33; it’s time to move on. Matip would be a step in the right direction.

4) LB Raphael Guerreiro (FC Lorient): 5’6, 147 lbs, 21 years old. Portugal international, valued at approximately £8.8m million. Lorient president Loic Fery recently came out saying Fery said: “I don’t need to explain why we want €12.5m when Kurzawa and Digne are valued today at €25m. No one [is] untransferable, but at a fair price”. Guerreiro made 33 appearances for Lorient last season, scoring an impressive seven goals from left back. He can also play on the wing, this would address a few positions for Newcastle and would definitely start ahead of Massadio Haidara.

3) ST Benik Afobe (Wolverhampton): 6’0, 172 lbs, 22 years old. England international, valued at approximately £10million. The former Arsenal academy player has seen a Newcastle bid already rejected and Steve McClaren recently stated that they are not pursuing Afobe. Truth be told, McClaren also said they weren’t going to be signing anyone else this summer two days before signing Thauvin; therefore, it does not mean much. Rumours and speculation claim that Newcastle may be better off pursuing him in the January window.

2) LB Faouzi Ghoulam (Napoli): 6’1, 176 lbs, 24 years old. Algerian international, valued at approximately €13 million. A mainstay and start for both Napoli and the Algerian international team, Ghoulam would be a perfect fit for this back line. Has a great crossing ability and would be perfect for the lack of service the Newcastle strikers are receiving from the flanks. Haidara has been struggling and has not looked the part in the first 4 matches.

1) ST Charlie Austin (QPR): 6’1, 185 lbs, 26 years old. England international, valued at approximately £10 million. I have stood firm on my opinion on the Mitrovic-Austin debate. I also previously stated that buying Aleksandar Mitrovic meant NUFC would no longer pursue Charlie Austin; it was always either or. There were several arguments made and so far it seems like I hit the nail on the head . However, why do I bring him up now as an option for Newcastle United despite harping for weeks about how we should not pursue him? It seems like Mitrovic is going to have a hard time staying on the pitch. Of course, it’s very early in the season but 4 games in and it seems like Mitro has discipline issues. His aggressive style may hurt Newcastle United. The director’s board will need to second guess the Charlie Austin pursuit and decide whether they can get him at a cheaper price. QPR is keen to sell and Papiss Cissé’s agent has recently come and said that his client is disgruntled. Would Charlie Austin and Aleksandar Mitrovic work together on the pitch? I don’t think so. But what I do know is, injuries occur and one guy seems to always be in the official’s booking. The PL season is a long one, if Newcastle can pry Austin for cheap from a desperate Queens Park Rangers, it would be an incredible addition.

Buckle up for an interesting upcoming 48 hours. Will it be a dull close to the transfer window for NUFC? or an exciting one. We shall see.

Published by

Aziz Khalil

Aziz Khalil

Diehard sports fan: LA Kings, Cleveland Cavs, New Orleans Saints, NY Mets, Newcastle United. Follow me on Twitter @AzizK47.

  • Andy Mac

    Hi Aziz another good article although I’m afraid I have to disagree with all your five choices ;-(

    I have a gut feel that although the Fatman has now opened up the purse strings to a certain extent and let’s not bother going down that old route of the lack of investment over the past few seasons, I kinda wonder whether we’re actually buying the players we need or just those players who offer the highest resale value in two/three years time ?

    For example Austin, for £15m, knows where the goal is, has proven PL experience and is a perfect fit for those games where he’ll be isolated and lacking support i.e. most of this season. Yet we buy an untried 20 yo with no experience in the PL and expect him to hit the ground (not
    the opponent) running from day one ? “Sellonability” is the term I’ve used and one of those players has it yet ironically the other could still give you five seasons of goals before his sell on value ceased to be an issue.

    Which leads me on to your selection of potential players NUFC could buy before the window closes. What each and every one of those five players mentioned above offers is a potential solution to a postional problem, i.e. better left back or centre back than we currently have. My belief is that although we could cut and paste a number of players from other clubs and fit them into the equivalent black and white shirt what we really need is to bring in someone for
    whom we have no current player alternative.

    Going back to my original point about buying the players we need, this team is crying out
    for invention, creativity, guile etc etc Most teams have one, a playmaker or quarterback, in the old days they were known as midfield generals. The Italians have coined the term “Regista” and it refers to somebody who sits deep in the middle and is charged with passing the ball in such a way that it creates attacking opportunities. Since Cabs departure we havent had a player who could look up, weigh the options and provide the killer pass all before some bas###d came in and clattered him to the ground.

    OK we’re not gonna find a Pirlo, a Xavi, an Alonso and certainly not a Pogba but there are players out there who can do the job. They need support with their defensive duties so
    either Vurnon Anita or Colback would play alongside and until he was sold to RM Mateo Kova?i? was the ideal choice. At £25m he wasnt cheap but would we have needed Gini or even Sissoko if we signed him ? Baselli at Torino is a good young alternative but he too seems likely to be on the move to Milan soon.

    Maybe McClaren will find a way to transform Anita or Colbs but sooner or later we’ll find ourselves needing a player in that mould.

    • Aziz Khalil

      All very solid points! I don’t know if we’re going to do anymore business, it is most likely going to depend on Papiss Cissé. The quotes from the agent and from Cissé himself are very suspect and almost cries out that he wants out of the situation. I don’t blame him. We keep looking to find someone better than him and he just wants to simply get playing time (also not getting any younger). What is even more odd is the fact that these quotes are coming out even though he is likely to get a starting spot for the next 3 matches due to Mitrovic’s suspension?

      If we do indeed sell Cissé, then I certainly hope we find a replacement. I have said for weeks that we shouldn’t pursue Charlie Austin and that there were bigger needs. Right now, Mitrovic cannot stay on the pitch; he’s got discipline issues. Bringing someone like Austin in might change his attitude.

      All the names you’ve mentioned are interesting but would any of them come play at Newcastle? That is the question.

      Thanks again for the reply!

    • Aziz Khalil

      All very solid points! I don’t know if we’re going to do anymore business, it is most likely going to depend on Papiss Cissé. The quotes from the agent and from Cissé himself are very suspect and almost cries out that he wants out of the situation. I don’t blame him. We keep looking to find someone better than him and he just wants to simply get playing time (also not getting any younger). What is even more odd is the fact that these quotes are coming out even though he is likely to get a starting spot for the next 3 matches due to Mitrovic’s suspension?

      If we do indeed sell Cissé, then I certainly hope we find a replacement. I have said for weeks that we shouldn’t pursue Charlie Austin and that there were bigger needs. Right now, Mitrovic cannot stay on the pitch; he’s got discipline issues. Bringing someone like Austin in might change his attitude.

      All the names you’ve mentioned are interesting but would any of them come play at Newcastle? That is the question.

      Thanks again for the reply!