Newcastle: Benitez targets improvement areas; imminent departures for high earners; striker linked
Promotion favourites Newcastle lost their second game of the season 2-1 at home to Huddersfield yesterday. The Magpies put in a lacklustre effort across the pitch and failed to dispatch any of their chances from open play.
While a less than ideal refereeing performance certainly hindered Rafa Benitez’s side, the officials can’t solely be blamed for a toothless display from the home side.
Benitez said that the fans were the only positive to come from the performance after the game. According to NUFC Blog, Benitez also highlighted several areas for improvement.
“We have to improve in defense because we are making mistakes, we have to improve in the middle and move the ball quicker, and we have to improve in the final third because we were not precise.
“We didn’t have enough good movement and the right patterns to our play. We didn’t do what we’ve been doing in training sessions during the game.”
Newcastle are yet to claim a single point in the Championship this season. The growing competition in a league which is very often heavily influenced by form could mean the Magpies miss out if Benitez can’t rally his squad quickly.
Benitez will look to further bolster his line up by signing a physical centre forward similar to Aleksandar Mitrovic, according to the Shields Gazette. Benitez believes he has enough “nimble front men” and will look to add another physical threat to his front line before the window ends.
A new striker would be the fifth Benitez has at his disposal alongside Mitrovic, Ayoze Perez, Dwight Gayle and Adam Armstrong.
While strikers are purchased to score goals, Newcastle have struggled to create chances in recent games, suggesting the problem could be further down the field.
Playmaker Fernando Forestieri has been linked to a move to Tyneside since the start of the transfer window, most recently by The Star, but the Owls are keen to hold onto their star man.
With the recent spate of new signings, Newcastle are keen to free up some of their wage budget by selling some of their big earners, the Shields Gazette report.
The belief is that the club are doing well enough financially to further reinforce without selling, but freeing up wages would be another benefit to removing the “presence of potentially moody unused squad members” from the club.
Likely departures include little-used forward Emmanuel Riviere, midfielder Henri Saivet and ex- Bordeaux winger Yoan Gouffran, none of whom are believed to have a future at the club.
Saivet could be the first to leave St Etienne prepared to take the player on loan, as well as contribute a portion of his significant £35,000-a-week wages.
Things aren’t working for Newcastle right now, but the number of changes planned by Rafa Benitez could go a long way to revitalising the squad. The owners have made a lot of significant mistakes in recent years and it will take time to undo the damage.
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Will also writes for Football Ticket Net, his choice for Newcastle tickets