By Danny Wright
Newcastle are facing the prospect of entering September without a recognised fit left-back in their first-team, according to a reliable journalist.
Sky Sports reporter Keith Downie claimed on his personal Twitter account on Thursday evening that a loan swoop for Southampton’s Matthew Targett is now dead in the water while Achraf Lazaar has now agreed to sign for Serie A side Benevento.
Paul Dummett is also ruled out with injury, meaning that Rafa Benitez may have to continue using centre-back Chancel Mbemba on the left-side of his back-line or recall utility man Jack Colback from the reserves.
Newcastle look to be ending the window without a recognised fit left-back. Targett deal off; Lazaar agreed to join Benvento; Dummett injured
— Keith Downie (@SkySports_Keith) August 31, 2017
Lazaar was signed by the Magpies just over a year ago in the final days of the 2016 summer transfer window but has made just nine appearances for the club across all competitions.
It has been a hugely frustrating summer for Benitez where Newcastle have largely failed to make huge improvements to their squad since being promoted to the Premier League, and this latest piece of news is yet another major blow for the club.
Mike Ashley promised the Spanish manager full financial flexibility after they lifted the Championship title in May, but it seems that wasn’t enough for the Tyneside club to build a squad worthy of a respectable finish this term.
Football Insider Verdict
This break down could be what tips Benitez over the edge. He has made it quite clear that he isn’t happy with how the summer has gone and as a result he could quit his post at St. James’ Park despite winning 3-0 against West Ham last week. Looking at the Magpies squad as it is now, it’s hard to say that it is any better than what it was last term. This failure also shows how much of a blunder it was to let Vurnon Anita leave on a free. Although he is usually a right-sided player, his versatility in defensive positions is the sort of thing that the club need right now.