Newcastle United are seeking major transfers ahead of the new season and the latest reports link the Magpies with Bruno Fernandes.
Portuguese outlet A Bola state Rafael Benitez’s side have joined the likes of Tottenham and West Ham in the market for the 23-year-old, who could leave Sporting Lisbon in a bargain deal after a turbulent campaign with the club.
Fernandes shone on the field, scoring 16 goals and contributing a further 20 assists across 56 appearances in all competitions, but shocking scenes emerged behind the scenes at Sporting after a group of fans stormed the training ground and attacked players.
That has already led to a number of players cancelling their contracts, citing just cause, including Portugal’s first-choice goalkeeper Rui Patricio – who joined newly-promoted Wolves ahead of the club’s return to the Premier League.
Fernandes is also expected to leave but Sporting are prepared to compromise on a deal, allowing the eight-cap Portugal international to leave in a cut-price deal – and Newcastle need to ensure they are at the front of the queue for his services.
“We ended up being defeated by the genius of the one who, in my opinion, is the best player in the Portuguese championship.”
Newcastle struggled for creativity in the final third last season as not a single player in Benitez’s squad hit double-figures for goals in the Premier League, while Ayoze Perez and Matt Ritchie led the way in assists with five each.
Fernandes’ numbers last season are significantly higher and his arrival would solve a major problem that Benitez has faced in the heart of midfield – lacking options and looking set to endure the departure of Mikel Merino to Real Sociedad, Sky Sports report.
Fernandes would slot immediately into Newcastle’s line-up and his arrival, alongside Kenedy’s return to St. James’ Park on-loan from Chelsea, would signal a major statement of intent to the rest of the Premier League that the Magpies are here to stay.
Nottingham Forest fans should get excited about signing Jack Colback
The midfielder was a solid loan signing for Nottingham Forest during the 2017/18 campaign.
Nottingham Forest have been extremely active during the summer transfer window and the business done by the club has offered supporters optimism that the 2018/19 campaign might just be a good one for the Reds.
Spanish boss Aitor Karanka has possessed a ruthless streak during the off season and in signing nine players it seems pretty clear that he is determined to ensure he has the very best squad at his disposal ahead of the big kick-off.
According to the Daily Mail (19/07/18 16:09), signing number ten doesn’t look to be too far away, with former loan star Jack Colback seemingly set to re-sign for the Reds on a season-long loan from Newcastle United.
“The other players, they know because I told them I wanted to keep a smaller squad with players who will be part of the future. The others know they have to find a solution,” Rafa Benitez recently told the Newcastle Chronicle.
“It’s the same situation [with Colback]. He’s already talking with a club and then I think he will find a solution.”
The 28-year-old made 16 appearances for the Reds last season, netting one goal, and his performances helped ensure that Forest didn’t become too embroiled in a relegation battle towards the end of the campaign.
Perhaps surprisingly Forest supporters are pretty divided when it comes to whether or not they want their club to complete a deal for Colback, although it seems pretty clear that some fans are letting the player’s excessive wages at Newcastle get in the way of making a balanced case for his arrival on Trentside being a good thing.
It is safe to say that the central midfielder is on a Premier League wage at the Magpies but the beauty of Forest securing another loan deal for the player is that they won’t have to foot the bill for whole salary, whilst Colback’s contract at St. James’ Park expires next summer making him a free agent.
It would appear, however, that the fans who don’t want Colback to check back in at the City Ground are somewhat unaware of the actual quality he brings with him.
During his spell with the East Midlands-based outfit last term he boasted a pass complete percentage of 89.6, according to WhoScored.com, and that sort of proficiency would be a massive asset for Forest as they look to try and challenge for promotion next season.
A changing of the guard has undoubtedly taken place under the stewardship of Aitor Karanka, with average no longer acceptable on the banks of the River Trent.
The signing of a player with Colback’s ability will only serve to enhance such a reputation and could go a long way towards Forest making a genuine push towards challenging for honours come the end of the 2018/19 campaign.
Newcastle United playing with fire as Rafa Benitez deserves much better
With finances restricted once again, Rafael Benitez faces a difficult summer.
Newcastle United and manager Rafa Benitez find themselves in transfer limbo once again under the ownership of Mike Ashley, as the controversial boss continues to restrict finances.
The Sports Direct magnate has attracted plenty of criticism during his tenure in charge at St. James’ Park and he has found himself in the fan’s firing line once again following the recent admission from Rafael Benitez.
Former Liverpool and Real Madrid boss overachieved last season in the club’s return to the Premier League, securing a tenth-placed finish, but has received no sort of backing as a reward from Ashley – admitting he must ‘wheel and deal’ in the market.
“We have to wheel and deal, that is the way for us. And then we try to continue doing the right things. As soon as the price goes a little bit higher, I know that we cannot buy them.”
The issue for Newcastle is that it is certainly not the first time Ashley has restricted funds, particularly in Benitez’s spell in charge, and sees the owner go back on a promise he made in May – when he told Sky Sports ‘every penny generated’ would be available to the fan-favourite manager.
Thankfully, the Chronicle says Benitez will remain loyal to the Magpies despite the financial restrictions but alarm bells should be ringing around Tyneside, especially after Benitez told Sky Sports he had the chance to manage Spain at the World Cup.
Benitez clearly remains highly-coveted in European football and Mike Ashley’s continued desire to play with fire leaves the Magpies in a very dangerous position. After all, if Benitez does quit what manager is going to accept a move to a club where they know they will be fighting against the odds from day one under an owner who wants to jump ship?
Newcastle have been up for sale for almost a year, which the Chronicle confirms remains the case in May, but there is no signs of progression in negotiations and optimism that a deal would be completed before Christmas last year now feels a long, long way off.
Benitez deserves credit for the work he has done in the market so far, signing Ki Sung-Yeung on a free transfer and bringing Kenedy back on-loan for the season from Chelsea, as well as landing Martin Dubravka on a permanent deal from Sparta Prague.
If he can secure bargains like that with a restricted budget, then imagine what he could achieve with respectable finances to work with.
Three reasons why Kenedy can become Newcastle’s talisman next season
The 22-year-old made an instant impact when he joined on loan last season.
During his time at St. James’ Park last season, the Brazilian showed glimpses of the genius that saw Chelsea bring him into their ranks from Brazilian powerhouse Fluminense and he will, in no doubt, be an extremely effective weapon for Rafael Benitez to have at his disposal next season.
But can the 22-year-old take it up a notch and become Newcastle’s star man in the 2018/19 Premier League season?
A brilliant manager to learn from
Kenedy will again have to chance to play under Spanish tactician Rafael Benitez, a manager who’s done and won it all.
Benitez seemed to get the best out of Kenedy last season for the Magpies, and the young Brazilian won’t find many other managers around who are invested in getting the very best out of their young talents.
He had a huge impact playing just half the season for Newcastle
When Kenedy arrived on Tyneside in January, Benitez’ team were struggling, and in a rut of bad form, the Brazilian played his part in turning the clubs fortunes around and helped his new side to a top half finish.
It is a mouthwatering prospect to think for Newcastle fans what Kenedy will achieve with the club given a full season with them, and now he has fully settled into life in the city, he may be able to make an even bigger impact next season.
Young, ambitious and highly rated
At 22 years of age, Kenedy is poised to have the best season of his career so far and his energetic style of play bodes well for Newcastle next season.
You only have to look back as far as April to see the kind of teams interested in taking Kenedy into their ranks for the new season. Sky Sports reported that Bayern Munich and PSG were considering launching bids for the winger; a testament to how highly rated he is.