Newcastle signed seven players in the summer, but Rafa Benitez wants more in January.
Once again, the Spaniard will be working with a shoestring budget, making his job even tougher. But which position should Benitez prioritise?
Is a striker essential?
Over the summer, Newcastle brought in Salomon Rondon and Yoshinori Muto. On the flip side, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Dwight Gayle left the club.
While the latter two are shining at Fulham and West Brom respectively, Newcastle’s new forwards aren’t setting the world alight just yet.
Rondon has impressed as a defensive forward, while Muto has been lively albeit weak in possession.
Time will tell if Rondon is the man to lead Newcastle’s forward line, but right now Benitez has more pressing issues with his squad.
Competition for Shelvey needed
When Jonjo Shelvey is injured, Newcastle are a completely different team.
They have no one who is capable of picking a pass like Shelvey, much to the detriment of their attack.
Ki Sung-yueng and Mo Diame are decent enough players, but will thrive alongside Shelvey rather as a pair themselves. But a player like Shelvey is going to cost a fair wedge of cash, which is something that Benitez doesn’t have.
Paul Dummett has been great under Benitez, but he hasn’t had much competition.
Newcastle need to bring in a left-back in January, to add competition for Dummett, and cover our backs in case he picks up an injury.
The Magpies had a late push for a left-sided defender in the summer but to no avail. Now Newcastle are solely relying on Dummett once again until January.
Of the three positions Benitez wants to strengthen, left-back has to be considered the top priority. One injury would kill Newcastle, as it doesn’t look like Achraf Lazaar is going to get another crack in black and white…