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. Follow them @NUFC360

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.

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