Date: 11th June 2019 at 5:31pm
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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…

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