Rafa Benitez may have left Newcastle after his contract expired, but some of the plans put in place by the Spaniard may be picked up by whoever fills the void left behind by the 59-year-old.
As well as a plethora of attacking options, United were strongly linked with new wing-backs throughout the closing stages of Benitez’s tenure on Tyneside, as the new Dalian Yifang head coach sought to upgrade the right-hand side of his Magpies backline, having grown uneasy with the abilities of DeAndre Yedlin and Javier Manquillo.
CSKA Moscow’s Mario Fernandes was one candidate thought to be in the club’s sights heading into the summer, with reports of a £26.4million approach being lined up for the 28-year-old.
However, thanks to the weeks of uncertainty over Benitez’s future and a proposed takeover on the cards, transfer plans have been forced to take a back seat in all club matters, with Managing Director Lee Charnley and Mike Ashley now prioritising finding our new head coach.
Football365, though, expect any manager that takes up the St James’ Park hot seat will realise the same weak link in the defence that Benitez sought to improve, and was even forced to switch to a three-man backline to get the most out of Yedlin’s attacking threat.
The publication add that Yedlin should be looking over his shoulder throughout the pre-season window fearing his replacement’s arrival at Darsley Park, given the £7.2million-rated USA international ‘sticks out like a sore, out-of-position thumb’ due to his sheer lack of Premier League quality.
“Yedlin is not a Premier League-standard defender, and has shown exactly that at Tottenham, Sunderland and now Newcastle,” they wrote.
“In a list of Newcastle players who started more than 25 Premier League games last season, the American sticks out like a sore, out-of-position thumb. There is work to be done on that Newcastle squad and it should begin at right-back.”