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After a dramatic final day turnaround, Newcastle United are going back to the Premier League as champions of England’s second tier.
Rafael Benitez will reportedly meet with Mike Ashley this week to discuss his and the club’s future, with quality signings and the budget available with which to sign them top of the agenda. One of the names regularly linked to Newcastle is that of Stoke City defender Ryan Shawcross.
Shawcross is wanted by Newcastle and it is imperative that they sign him if the Chester-born player is available. His experience would be a massive plus for Newcastle; at 29 he is at his peak as a defender and has played almost 400 first team games for Antwerp and Stoke. Both Jamaal Lascelles and Ciaran Clark will be given a chance but Shawcross is more experienced and will be a valuable addition.
Stoke’s number 17 is better than what Newcastle already have. Mbemba and Hanley do not match up to his quality and may leave over the summer. So Shawcross would represent a step forward in terms of replacement. His stats are certainly impressive too. He is one of Stoke’s better players. He is 2nd in terms of aerial battles won (within the club and only giant Peter Crouch is above him) and he makes more clearances and blocks than anyone else at the club.
His loyalty is something that is not in question either and Rafa will have noted this. Since coming through the ranks at Manchester United’s academy, Shawcross went to Stoke via a loan spell at Antwerp and has spent 9 years at the club. Many a bid has been placed for him and many a manager has wanted his services, but all have been rebuffed.
Football always seems to follow certain fashions and trends, and Shawcross has been a little unlucky not to be recognised as one of the better defenders of his generation. He has one England cap to his name, but it could have been so much more. He’s played in what has been an exceptional era for centre-backs, with John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Gary Cahill and now John Stones all stepping forward. In terms of the trends; how many more caps might Shawcross have had if he was in the Man United or Chelsea team rather than at Stoke?
Shawcross has just one year left on his current deal and will not command the massive fees that were needed by Chelsea and Man City to secure the services of John Stones and David Luiz respectively.