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Newcastle United’s summer transfer window, upon their return to the Premier League, has been far from ideal. Manager Rafael Benitez had a lot of expectations coming into the summer, having led the club back to the English top-flight, but the club has failed to completely back him in the window.
Fair play to them, on having brought in some decent players in the form of Mikel Merino, Joselu, Florian Lejeune, Christian Atsu, Jacob Murphy and Javier Manquillo, but that is quite a way away from the business that the manager had hoped to get done before the transfer window.
Benitez had made a new goalkeeper his top priority this summer, not being satisfied with his options of Rob Elliot and Karl Darlow. Tim Krul too wasn’t considered good enough and was loaned out to Brighton & Hove Albion on the deadline day. However, the club failed to land a new custodian. Despite the signing of Joselu, the manager was keen on another striker, and a creative midfielder to operate in behind the striker would have also been a great addition.
However, there was not enough activity from the Magpies in the window, which has reportedly led to friction between the manager and the board. Despite the lack of adequate transfer business, it is not all doom and gloom for Newcastle yet.
Yes, the club haven’t started off on the best of the notes on their return to the top-flight – a 2-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur on the opening day was followed by a 1-0 defeat to fellow newcomers Huddersfield Town. A 3-2 defeat at Nottingham Forest brought an early end to their EFL Cup hopes as well.
The Tynesiders did manage to bounce back strongly in their third Premier League outing, against West Ham United, humbling Slaven Bilic’s club to a 3-0 defeat at the St. James’ Park before the international break. True, that the Hammers have been struggling to get into any sort of form in the early season, but credit is due for Newcastle, for the way they played on the day.
It must also be remembered that Benitez’s men were holding off Spurs on the opening day as well, until captain Jonjo Shelvey was sent off, putting them at a disadvantage. Things may not have been helped by the early injuries to Paul Dummett and Florian Lejeune, but it would be wrong to rule Newcastle United this early into the season.
Merino showed that he can be a quality addition to the side, against the Hammers. Ayoze Perez too displayed what he can do if he gets going, along with new arrival, Joselu. Add to that, the threat of Matt Ritchie and Christian Atsu from wide areas and the defensive solidity of Ciaran Clark, Chancel Mbemba and Jamaal Lascelles, the Magpies have a decent squad to battle it out in the top-flight.
The transfer window is closed and there is no point now in pointing fingers at one another for a lack of transfers. They should rather buckle down and soldier on. Things may not have gotten off to a great start, but it is a long season and there is plenty of time for the club to recover from the early setback. The transfer window might not have gone according to the expectations of many, including the manager, but there is enough in the tanks to mount a strong campaign, which might have already begun with the demolition of West Ham.