While Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle future has not yet been resolved, the Chronicle feel it is only a matter of time before the club must turn their attention to the transfer market to begin strengthening the first-team.
Thus, Chris Waugh, one of their Magpies writers, has compiled a list of eight free agents he feels the club’s transfer department should be making contact with, to sound out the chances of them joining United once a new manager – or Benitez’s renewal – is announced.
Some are names that have already been linked with a summer move to St James’ Park following their respective releases, while others are more plug-and-play free agents who could fill one of the vacancies Benitez intends to fill should he stay on.
From those to have been linked already, Waugh mentions soon-to-be former Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck, whose time at the Emirates Stadium will come to an end on June 30, having played 126 games for the Gunners over five years, scored 32 goals and celebrated two FA Cups and a Community Shield.
Another out-of-contract star comes from the club Welbeck left for Arsenal, Manchester United, with Juan Mata name-dropped. The Spaniard has been offered a new contract at Old Trafford, but is yet to sign on again with the Red Devils.
Benitez reportedly wants the 31-year-old to add more creativity in the engine room, and his father is the agent of Salomon Rondon.
Sticking with Spaniard’s and players who could fill a role Benitez wants to improve, Waugh mentions Alberto Moreno, who will leave Liverpool at the end of the month having played just five games in the 2018/19 season under Jurgen Klopp.
West Ham United’s Adrian will also become a free agent at the end of the month having played five games all season, and could be a worthwhile option to bring to Newcastle in a bid to add stiff competition for goalkeeping duties at St James’ Park.
Rather than pure competition for minutes, Waugh feels a move for former England international Gary Cahill would make sense as well, as the 33-year-old centre-back would offer real leadership skills, even if he would be a tough sell to the Magpies board.
There is also the customary mention for academy graduate Andy Carroll, and a shout for former Benitez target Daniel Sturridge, who turned us down 18-months ago to join West Bromwich Albion on loan instead.
And finally, Waugh suggests Newcastle should look to offer Mohamed Diame a new contract, as Benitez would prefer to retain the Senegal international rather than allowing the 31-year-old to leave for free on June 30.
The midfielder, himself, would be open to signing a two-year agreement too, providing the terms are more lucrative than his current £45,000-a-week deal.
When Waugh’s eight-man shortlist was shared on Twitter, here’s how these Newcastle fans reacted…
Fold the club
— Mikey Hall (@Mikeyhall4) June 10, 2019
There we go the customary Carroll link
Majority of these would have to halve their wage
Not sure we have enough treatment tables or physios to sign a few of them
— paz (@ianparry9) June 10, 2019
Would @ChronicleNUFC care to explain exactly why NUFC ‘should target’ the likes of Sturridge and Carroll when they’re both made of glass? Just cos they’re out of contract?
— Chris Kelly (@chriskelly1985) June 10, 2019
There’s a reason they’re free
— real jedi (@anothergamer77) June 10, 2019
We have at least 4 CBs better than Cahill
— Mark Wallace (@walla81) June 10, 2019
I think for me Cahill and Wellbeck would be some decent experience in areas that could be strengthened with some experience, which they both have.
— Justin Bull (@JustinBull20) June 10, 2019
No thanks! Only one I’d take is Carroll on a 1 year deal as back up to Rondon providing he signs permanently which I highly doubt !
— Nathan◼◻Moat (@nathanmoat) June 10, 2019
What about Rafa ? He’s free after the 30th. Could we sign him ?
— Aidan McAtominey (@AidanMcAtominey) June 10, 2019
Sign cahill and sell lascelles
— M R (@ichalicharu) June 10, 2019
Under Ashley none of these will be wearing a toon shirt as they are to old and wages will be to high. 1 or 2 maybe worth a punt but I think we should pass on them and focus on players who are not injury prone.
— steven jones (@towlawstev) June 10, 2019
Mata is the only one I would sign
— Stewart (@costanza55) June 10, 2019
Moreno n Mata the only ones I’d have
— bigrobnufc (@Robbieo68646502) June 10, 2019