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Fernando Torres should reunite with Rafa Benitez at Newcastle next season

A romantic return to the Premier League could suit both parties.

Max Cohen



Fernando Torres
Photo: Getty Images

Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres announced he would be leaving his boyhood club this summer, and also ruled out a domestic move to another La Liga club.

The experienced Spanish international would be a prudent signing for Newcastle United, where Torres could reunite with Rafa Benitez and serve as a wise mentor to the Magpie’s attackers.

Torres has enjoyed a quietly productive season in Madrid, bagging eight goals in a primarily substitute role. And just this weekend against Levante, the striker rolled back the years with a trademark volleyed goal into the top corner.

Although the Spaniard is 34 years of age, he could nonetheless contribute in meaningful ways for the Magpies. Newcastle lack experience up top and Torres would be a brilliant teacher for the talents of Dwight Gayle and Ayoze Perez.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

In addition, Newcastle simply need depth in attacking positions, with just Perez, Gayle, and Islam Slimani comprising their strike-force. This lack of forward options is due in a large part to the reluctance of Mike Ashley to spend money on transfers, an issue that has annoyed Benitez in the past.

Before Newcastle’s impressive 2-1 win over Arsenal at St. James’ Park this weekend, Benitez again called on Ashley to invest in the squad over the summer.

With the Magpies securing their Premier League status in superb fashion against the Gunners, confidence and optimism is flowing in the Northeast. It seems if there was ever a time for Newcastle’s notoriously stingy owner to splash the cash, it would be this offseason.

Fernando Torres should be top of Rafa Benitez’s wish list, and with the two Spaniards famously enjoying a warm relationship during their time at Liverpool, Torres would take little convincing to make the switch to Newcastle.

ust like his ex-manager, Torres would do well to leave Madrid and take on a project of his own at St. James’ Park this summer.

Max is a journalist studying at the University of Pennsylvania. Max specialises in English football and co-hosts a weekly podcast. He is also a politics reporter and deputy news editor for The Daily Pennsylvanian.

Newcastle United

Newcastle United summer transfer failure Alassane Pleaa scores hat-trick in 11-1 debut win

The Frenchman had a debut to remember for Borussia Monchengladbach.

Mathew Nash



Plenty of teams found themselves linked with the services of French forward Alassane Plea this summer. With good reason as well. The Nice attacker had scored 21 goals and assisted seven in the 2017-18 campaign.

One team who were reportedly keen on his signature were Newcastle United. As reported by The Chronicle, Newcastle had a £20 million bid for the player rejected in July. It appeared the Frenchman had become the club’s main striker target, an area Rafa Benitez was very keen to improve.

In the end, Newcastle had to settle for a swap deal involving Dwight Gayle that saw Salomon Rondon arrive at St James’ Park.

Plea meanwhile has just had an excellent start to life at his new club.

BREMEN, GERMANY – AUGUST 19: (L-R) Raffael and Alassane Plea of Borussia Moenchengladbach celebrate after scoring during the DFB Cup first round match between BSC Hastedt and Borussia Moenchengladbach at stadium Platz 11 on August 19, 2018 in Bremen, Germany. (Photo by Cathrin Mueller/Bongarts/Getty Images)

The Frenchman did leave Nice this summer. He joined Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach for £22 million, meaning the Magpies were only £2 million short of his asking price.

Yesterday, he made his debut for Gladbach and promptly scored a hat-trick to announce himself to his new fans. It is certainly worth noting that Gladbach won the game 11-1 against Hastedt in the DFB Pokal. Plea was one of three men to score a hat-trick, along with Thorgan Hazard and Raffael.

Despite the fact it was a stroll in the park, Plea still has three goals from just one game at his new club.

Newcastle fans were left frustrated at their summer business, with failing to meet an asking price for Plea certainly a talking point.

If he can take his form in the cup into the Bundesliga, then Newcastle will be made to regret not spending £2 million more in the summer.

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Newcastle United

One winner, one loser from Newcastle’s draw to Cardiff

Jake Jackman



Photo: Getty Images

Newcastle United had an eventful afternoon in Cardiff and there will be mixed feelings about the final result. The game finished as a goalless draw after the visitors had a player sent off. Based on that, it would look to be a good result, but the Magpies missed a penalty in the last minute to take all three points.

It was an underwhelming display from Newcastle, as they were second best for long periods and didn’t offer as much of a goal threat as they did against Tottenham. Rafa Benitez will be disappointed by the performance and will have got that point across to his players at full-time. Below we discuss a winner and loser from the match at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Winner – Jamaal Lascelles

There was a lot of interest from other clubs during the summer, but Jamaal Lascelles stayed at St James’ Park and he should be set for another season of development under Benitez. He was clearly the stand out player for Newcastle, as he put his body on the line to earn an important clean sheet.

The captain won six aerial duels as he stood up to the physical assault deployed by Cardiff. In addition to his aerial dominance, he completed four ball recoveries and six clearances in an excellent defensive performance.

CARDIFF, WALES – AUGUST 18: Jamaal Lascelles of Newcastle United reacts during the Premier League match between Cardiff City and Newcastle United at Cardiff City Stadium on August 18, 2018 in Cardiff, United Kingdom. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

His pass success rate of 82% underlines his improvement on the ball over the last 12 months. Lascelles is quickly becoming one of the best English centre-backs and he will be crucial to Newcastle’s ambitions this season.

Loser – Kenedy

The Chelsea loanee is regarded as one of Newcastle’s most talented players, but there is a reason why he is in their squad rather than playing for his parent club. The Brazilian is capable of magical performances, but he is also capable of some very poor displays. Against Cardiff, his showing fell into the latter.

Kenedy finished the match with a pass success rate of 57%, which was very poor. His decision making throughout was disappointing and he was trying to do too much to make up for his lack of contribution.

During the final minutes, he shanked a free-kick into the wall, before tamely hitting the penalty into an easy area for the goalkeeper to save. Kenedy shouldn’t have been given the opportunity to take the spot-kick, as it was clear that he was having a poor afternoon. There will be better days for the Brazilian, but this was one to forget.

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Newcastle United

Yedlin’s injury update provides lucky escape for Newcastle board

Jake Jackman



Photo: Getty Images

DeAndre Yedlin was forced off with a knee injury during Newcastle’s opening Premier League match against Tottenham. However, the club have now confirmed that it isn’t serious and he is likely to resume training with his team-mates imminently.

The injury was concerning when viewed at full speed and a number of analysts speculated that the American could be facing a long spell on the sidelines. That would have been disastrous for Newcastle as he has emerged as the club’s first-choice right-back over the last 12 months. The only other options in the squad are an unconvincing Javier Manquillo and an inexperienced Jamie Sterry.

Rafa Benitez campaigned for investment during the summer transfer window, but the club refused to give him a fair budget based on their revenue. This has left the manager frustrated as a number of areas within the squad haven’t been strengthened and he is now short on quality and depth.

One of the areas that he has been left short in is full-back cover. There is no doubting that Yedlin and Paul Dummett have developed into good Premier League players since Benitez took over as manager. However, there is a lack of competition for them and one major injury could spell major problems for Newcastle.

(Photo credit should read LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images)

The board were nearly punished during the first match of the season and there would have been little sympathy towards Mike Ashley if Yedlin’s injury was more serious. His continual lack of investment has made the club over-reliant on certain individuals.

Although there remain doubts over the squad depth, it is fantastic news for Newcastle that Yedlin is going to be back on the pitch in the very near future. He has developed a lot under Benitez and he could be set for a breakthrough year at full-back.

As an attacking threat, he has a key role to play at St James’ Park as he often races down the line to offer a passing option on the overlap. His pace is a dangerous weapon that Newcastle often try to utilise on the counter-attack. Although Yedlin’s end product is inconsistent, he is an important player for the Magpies in attack.

In addition to offering an outlet in the attacking half, Yedlin’s pace is great for the defence, as he can use it to recover from a mistake. This has been seen countless times since Newcastle’s return to the Premier League and it provides balance to the back four.

The USA international will be delighted that he won’t be missing a significant portion of the season, but this scare should serve as a reminder to the board. Benitez needs strength in depth, otherwise, he is one injury away from a crisis.


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