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The ins and outs that Newcastle United fans can expect as the January transfer window kicks off

NEWCASTLE: As some Newcastle United fans have taken to social media to express their ironic disappointment at the lack of transfer activity at Tyneside so far in January, the work behind the scenes at the club they love is continues at a considerable pace.

It looks like more than a window for Newcastle United – the club’s mid-term future is at stake.

As the fireworks lit up the winter gloom and 2021 was just a memory, much more than the dawn of a new year was being celebrated in the north-east of England.

Saturday, January 1 was not only a “new year, new me” time for resolutions and reflection, it is also one of the most anticipated times on the black and white calendar in a generation.

Not since the days of Kevin Keegan’s Entertainers, or Sir Bobby Robson’s swashbuckling Champions League records, have Newcastle waited for such an intense period.

This weekend, for the first time in 15 years, marked the opening of a transfer window without Mike Ashley in charge of the NUFC. A date worth celebrating for this fact alone. However, that also comes with the added bonus that United are now owned by shareholders with access to more wealth than any other football club on the planet.

But what does the Magpies have in store next month under the leadership of the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, flanked by RB Sports & Media and PCP Capital Partners?

Here we take a look at the likely transfers to St James’ Park, in and out, as well as the potential easy wins and possible pitfalls the window, which closes in England at 11 p.m. GMT on January 31, could entail.

Transfer window do’s and don’ts

This window appears to be the first real test of the new owner’s expertise, ambitions and intention.

Recruit as early as January and the club has every chance to stay in place, opening the door to future high-level success. If you’re wrong, things seem less certain for key figures in the consortium.

The Magpies have won just one game since the club’s buyout in early October, and if United are to stay in the Premier League beyond the end of this season, they need to make sure that changes. Signing new players is key to this – the feeling that every ounce has been taken from the current squad is further emphasized with every game they play.

Although victories were hard to come by, the goodwill shown towards the new owner did not falter. In fact, he probably grew up.

Fans are ready to give the property time and space to reshape the club in their own image, brushing aside the tired and broken model of Ashley. However, January must bring not only success on the pitch, but transfer gains as well.

No game until January 15 is a welcome break for the COVID-hit club squad, but it’s also a ample opportunity for United’s transfer squad to deliver new signings.

Well-placed sources from Magpies told Arab News the club are working hard to ensure transfer progress arrives in the first window stanza. Hopes are high that at least two or three new faces will be available by the time Watford’s other fighters travel to St James’ Park in less than two weeks.

Kieran Trippier is the deal most likely to be signed by then, with moves for Sven Botman of Lille and the Netherlands also at an advanced stage.

Closing deals and getting them done quickly would be an easy victory for management and prevent any doubt from creeping into Geordie’s mind.

One thing is for sure: United have a strong hand when it comes to the resources at their disposal. Although budgets have been mentioned, there seems to be a resolution that whatever it is and whatever the cost, the club will provide what is needed to ensure the Magpies stay on their feet. Failure, it seems, is not an option.

A big lesson to be learned from other clubs is that United should not be stupendous with their budget. Overpaying players, handing out inflated salaries and contracts, and being taken on by agents with their exorbitant fixer fees can not only hurt immediate ambitions, but also limit the potential for future spending.

While it is accepted that United will pay a premium for players in terms of fees and salaries, it would be unwise to keep the bar too high. Paying money for mediocre, short-term patch signings begs the question: What happens when United look to bring in more high-profile players? The numbers may soon fly with a club – see Robinho and Manchester City for the perfect example across the Gulf.

Players likely to be shown the door

Newcastle United have a plethora of players whose future remains uncertain – and which players arrive will affect those who are excluded from the club’s 25-man Premier League squad.

With center-backs topping head coach Eddie Howe’s shopping list in 2022, doubts about the future of Federico Fernandez and Ciaran Clark have been raised. The situation with Fabian Schar’s contract – his contract ends this summer – further complicates the situation.

Emil Krafth and injured Paul Dummett, as well as full-backs Matt Ritchie and Javier Manquillo, could also find themselves eliminated if Trippier and Lucas Digne of Everton’s moves materialize.

Further forward, Sean Longstaff continues to interest Everton but has recently barged to the side.

Brother Matty Longstaff could well be sacked on loan after a Scottish Premiership failure with Aberdeen.

Ireland international Jeff Hendrick, beloved of Sheffield United, has been a peripheral figure in this campaign and is definitely in danger, while Dwight Gayle will leave, likely on loan with his United subsidized salary.

And finally, at least one goalkeeper will leave the club this month – United have made the unprecedented move to name four to their ranks this summer, due to both injury and Ashley’s pinch .

Players on the Magpies shopping list

Now, this is where things get particularly interesting.

Howe wants to add at least four new players to the Magpies ranks during this window. At the bare minimum, United want a full-back, a center-back, a center midfielder and a striker. That number could easily grow to six or seven with another lateral rear and a center half on the radar, if possible.

As mentioned, Trippier and Digne are targets in larger areas while Chelsea’s Ross Barkley is a name that seems to have some favor as a center for midfield improvement. Lyon’s Moussa Dembele and Real Madrid’s Luka Jovic are potential frontline rookies who could be captured on loan and Botman, along with Bournemouth’s Lloyd Kelly, are notable center-backs.

Boubacar Kamara of Marseille is under consideration, but with his contract during the summer he could easily resist an offer more poised for success. The midfielder also rejected a transfer to United in 2020.

Ex-United and Liverpool man Gini Wijnaldum is one to watch this month as he searches for an escape route for PSG.

Other ties, with some degree of legitimacy, include Sander Berge, Sardar Azmoun, Niklas Sule, Joe Rodon, Arthur Cabral, Ousmane Dembele, Jesse Lingard, James Tarkowski, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Idrissa Gueye, and Aaron Ramsey.


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