As recent movement involving Bastian Schweinsteiger, Glen Johnson, Marco van Ginkel, Angelo Ogbonna and Idrissa Gueye attests, the summer transfer window is picking up pace, and Newcastle appear to be among the chief beneficiaries.
The Magpies were one of three clubs identified on Betting.Betfair as needing to speed up their spending, but have since completed their first signing in £14.5 million PSV midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, while Steve McClaren has explained why the process is taking time.
The former England boss, who is [4.0] to return Newcastle to the top half in 2015/16, expressed that “we might need to buy about four or five players this window”. He enthused: “I’ve come in and looked at the plan, looked at the calibre of players we’re targeting and said ‘wow'”.
So why the delay if they are eager to add up to five and drew their shortlist before McClaren’s arrival? To explain, he detailed a strategy consisting of “make sure we get the right players”, “go £10 million-plus” and pursue “Europa League and Champions League players at top clubs”.
Who fits that criteria? Let’s have a look…
This is the deal that Newcastle are closest to concluding, with the Serbian international striker’s agent Pini Zahavi indicating that a deal is close. Though a youthful 20, he has played and scored in the Champions League and Europa League and has four seasons of first-team football behind him at Teleoptik, Partizan and Anderlecht, causing the Belgians to demand around £15 million.
The Magpies may seek to secure two new forwards given reports that they are contemplating a risky sale of Papiss Cisse, and Dost hits more of the markers laid out by McClaren than Austin does. The Dutch attacker has sampled European football and played in a side fighting for major honours, as Wolfsburg finished second in the Bundesliga and won the German Cup last term.
Up front and centre back are the two areas that Newcastle are keenest to strengthen in and, with efforts to seduce Schalke’s Joel Matip seemingly stymied, Ajax’s Voltman has supposedly climbed to the top of the latter shortlist. The 23-year-old has given the Champions League and Europa League a go, and was in Louis van Gaal’s 23-man Netherlands World Cup 2014 squad.
Virgil van Dijk
English fans often show snobbery about shopping in Scotland, but van Dijk’s two years at Celtic afforded him 22 more opportunities to play in Europe than Newcastle employees received in that period. It is also encouraging that most of the players who left Parkhead for the Premier League in that time thrived, most notably Victor Wanyama and Fraser Forster at Southampton and Joe Ledley at Crystal Palace.