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Rumours are increasingly circulating that Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez wants to bring Ryan Shawcross to the club once they achieve promotion back to the Premier League.
Jamaal Lascelles and Ciaran Clark have done a sterling job at the back this season in the Championship, but Benitez may not want to take any chances on their Premier League capabilities and needs a player with a proven track record in that position.
Shawcross definitely fits that bill, being one of Stoke City’s most consistent performers over a number of years. Including this one, Shawcross has spent 9 full seasons at the Britannia Stadium and has never played less than 20 games in a season.
The former Manchester United youth player may feel things are a bit stagnant these days at Stoke. Safe in mid-table once again, Stoke don’t look like being relegated but neither do they look like challenging for Europe. As if to accentuate this point and keep his options open, Shawcross has not signed a new deal and will be out of contract in a year’s time.
So, for the player, it looks like he is happy to leave and given that no new deal is on the table for him, the club may be willing to cash in now while they have the chance.
Tempting the £9.35m rated Shawcross to Newcastle should not be a problem; they will be fancied to be around or even above Stoke upon their return to the big league and the fact that Shawcross would be the main man at the back in a team coached by Rafa Benitez and watched by 52,000 people each week is one hell of a pull.
Surely, Benitez will want to keep both Lascelles, and Clark, who has arguably been his best defender beyond the summer. At various points of next season, both players deserve the chance to prove they can play at Premier League level and certainly they will.
For his part though, Benitez is not willing to allow years to go by with Newcastle slowly improving. He wants to make an impact in the Premier League immediately and is said to want at least 6 new players of sufficient quality before the season starts.
Rafa the Gaffa wants to emulate the success he had at Liverpool, which is some shout. So he needs the very best players available to him at every point in time next season. Look out for some ruthless transfer business.
After almost 400 appearances for Stoke City, Ryan Shawcross could leave there with the best wishes of some grateful support. However, he may think this is his last chance for a big move in the game, at 29-years of age. Newcastle would welcome him with open arms.