Rafa Benitez faces more frustration in the transfer market, with West Brom the latest club to steal a march on the club in landing one of the Spaniard’s targets. Despite enquiring about a loan deal for Daniel Sturridge, it looks as though the injury-plagued Liverpool frontman will be off to the Hawthorns.

Toon supporters will obviously feel demoralised by the news – as the sand ebb aways on the transfer window hourglass.

At a glance this would appear to be yet more crushing confirmation of Newcastle’s current stagnation and its’ ever-decreasing pull factors, when clubs who have forged a reputation on bouncing between divisions are suddenly considered a more desirable prospect.

We must not forget though, that should the deal materialise, Sturridge will be returning close to his birthplace and it is reported he is making this decision due to family reasons, rather than a burning desire to be fed long balls from Craig Dawson.

Nevertheless, Sturridge would have been a welcome addition to a depressingly impotent Magpie frontline, that has looked shot on confidence for the majority of the campaign.

His injury woes are well-documented – the man is 28 years old yet hasn’t managed 30 league appearances in a season since 2012. However on his day, the former Chelsea striker is one of England’s most lethal finishers, and would have been a breath of fresh air for a region that isn’t shy about doling out worship to centre-forwards.

No doubt relishing the moment, it looks as though Alan Pardew has twisted the knife in the gut of his former employers yet again, depriving the club of a Premier League proven goalscorer – let’s just hope the silver-haired boss won’t still be laughing come May.