Former Newcastle captain: Benitez must strengthen these areas in summer deals

By Russell Edge

Former Newcastle captain John Anderson believes that Rafael Benitez needs to strengthen the spine of his side ahead of their return to the Premier League.

The Magpies secured promotion to the top flight at the first time of asking and did so as champions, leapfrogging Brighton on the final day of the season.

Following their title victory, manager Benitez committed himself to the club and has been told by owner Mike Ashley that he will have “every last penny” generated by promotion to spend in the summer transfer window, as reported by the club’s official website.

It was also revealed by the Chronicle that the Magpies are set to receive £95m as a result of their promotion.

With recruitment the priority ahead of next season, former Newcastle defender and captain John Anderson has revealed where he believes the Spanish manager needs to invest.

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Anderson told the Chronicle: “I think he’s got to look through the whole spine of the team.

“We need a commanding centre back… a central midfielder and someone to put the ball in the back of the net.”

Anderson also made the surprising claim that he expects Benitez to be in the market for a new goalkeeper, despite having three on the books already.

Karl Darlow, Republic of Ireland international Rob Elliot and Belgium international Matz Sels have all shared duties between the sticks this season, while he will also have Dutch international Tim Krul and England U21’s Freddie Woodman returning after loan spells.

Anderson said to the Chronicle: “It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he tried to sign a new goalkeeper.

“People say that Darlow’s done well but all of a sudden he (Benitez) has left him out and brought Elliot back in.”

In other Newcastle transfer news, the Magpies are reportedly in for a striker who has hit 13 goals in 18 games.

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