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Newcastle United have started their summer rebuild and the central midfield area is one that they are very eager to strengthen up.
With Jack Colback not considered good enough for the Premier League and Vurnon Anita having now left the club, Newcastle have only Jonjo Shelvey and Isaac Hayden left as deep lying central midfield players.
Much to the chagrin of Newcastle fans last season, a lot was put on the shoulders of Jonjo Shelvey when it came to getting Newcastle moving forward up the pitch and Rafa knows very well that this cannot be allowed to be the case by the time the Premier League kicks off in August.
Rafa seems to be interested in quite a few central midfielders but my opinion is that he should have a look at Liverpool veteran Lucas Leiva.
With Shelvey performing the attacking midfield role, Newcastle will need defensive solidity and Lucas can bring that. His Liverpool career is slowing down, but at 30, he still has a lot to give and in his 24 Premier League games last term (12 starts), his record was a fine one.
6 starts in his preferred central midfield role saw him perform impressively indeed and his tackling and interceptions seem as strong as always.
Lucas worked well at Liverpool when Rafa Benitez was the manager and with the player arguably even better now than what he was upon his arrival at Anfield, their relationship could be rekindled. It’s been proven many times before in football that when two people have a proven work relationship, it’s a valuable commodity to have.
Lucas would not command a massive wage either; at least not an insurmountable one, and is available on a free transfer at the end of the month. Newcastle have the money to spend, but know that in the unbalanced world of Premier League transfers they will need big money to land top targets.
Although it’s a slightly negative way to look at things, Lucas is a better player than Jack Colback and the name of the game for Newcastle right now is improvement. Some new players will be a huge step up, while others will just be few percent better. But as long as they add quality, Rafa knows that he is inching towards his goals.
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