COMMENT by Amir Mir
Football Insider gazes into a crystal ball and predicts the Newcastle team for the opening campaign of the 2017/18 season.
Flying high in the Championship, seven points clear in the automatic places, it is fair to say that Rafa Benitez’ side are heading back to the Premier League this season.
The Magpies failed to add any new additions during the January transfer window, but if they do make the expected return back to the promise land, the summer will be a very pivotal window for the north east club.
They could possibly add three new players to their squad in the summer in, Andros Townsend, Jack Wilshere and Ben Davies.
As a result, the under-performing trio of Yoan Gouffran, Jack Colback and Paul Dummett could be sold.
Crystal Palace winger Townsend was a player who was heavily touted for a move back to St James’ Park last month, but a deal didn’t materialise.
The 25-year-old blossomed during his time with the club and he would add much-needed quality and depth to the team.
On the other hand, midfielder Wilshere is currently on loan at Bournemouth from Arsenal and with his contract due to expire in 2018, his future at the Emirates is still unclear.
Therefore, he is a player Benitez should target, due to his ability to control a game from the middle of the park, beat defenders and pick out at a pass.
Not only that, Benitez would bring the best out of the England international, who has not pushed on in recent seasons due to injuries and form.
Wilshere would be a force with the likes of Jonjo Shelvey and the powerhouse of Mo Diame around him as Colback simply doesn’t have the quality to perform at the top level.
Despite winning 21 of their 30 Championship games this season, the left-back position has been one weak point for the club.
Tottenham defender Davies should be targeted by Benitez as the Welshman continues to play second fiddle to Danny Rose at White Hart Lane.
Davies has played for a PL title-chasing side, Champions League matches and has vast amounts of experience on the international stage.
If persuaded to move, he would bring that experience to the defensive backline and an attacking threat that Dummett simply cannot provide.
In other Newcastle transfer news, the club are to reignite their interest in this Premier League winger (Not Andros Townsend).