Before the January transfer window opened, there was a lot of talk that Newcastle wanted a midfielder.
Come the end of the month, they’d got one. Nabil Bentaleb arrived on loan from Schalke, a signing that was completely out of the blue.
By the time news broke in the media about the Algerian’s move, it was pretty much a done deal.
However, Newcastle might have signed a different midfielder in January had things gone differently.
Back in November, the Magpies were linked with a loan move for Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka.
The Switzerland international was massively out of favour, having been stripped of the captaincy after a clash with supporters in a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.
It seemed like his Arsenal career was over, and Steve Bruce was ready to hand him a lifeline.
However, things changed when Mikel Arteta became Gunners boss. The Spaniard gave the £35million man another chance, and he’s been an integral player ever since.
When Newcastle take on Arsenal, it could be Xhaka vs Bentaleb in the middle of the park.
The former Spurs man is yet to massively impress in black and white, but has shown flashes of talent.
At the Emirates, Bentaleb has a big chance to prove to his manager that he shouldn’t regret missing out on Xhaka.
If he takes it, it could kick-start his Newcastle career.