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Opinion: Newcastle have done very well to add to their squad in January and they can finish the season well



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Antonio Barreca and Miguel Almiron

Miguel Almiron and Antonio Barreca can uplift Newcastle this season

According to BBC Sports, Newcastle United have broken their transfer record to sign Paraguayan international playmaker Miguel Almiron for £20million from MLS outfit Atlanta United.

Almiron, however, is not the only new face at Tyneside after the January transfer deadline, with the Magpies also securing the services of Italian left-back Antonio Barreca on loan from Monaco till the end of the campaign.

Rafael Benitez deserves all the sympathy in the world for fighting in the Premier League with a rather mediocre squad. The Spaniard has managed to get the club out of the relegation zone following a calamitous start which included a winless streak of eleven games.

Newcastle haven’t lacked organisation and discipline under the stewardship of the gaffer but they could not have expected much returns after spending a measly amount in the summer to acquire the services of Federico Fernandez, Fabian Schar, Yoshinori Muto and Ki-Sung Yueng.

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Miguel Almiron

They have often been criticised for their ultra-defensive brand of football this season but it is important to take note of the fact that the manager hasn’t had too many attacking options at his disposal. And that is exactly why the acquisition of an out-and-out No.10 in Miguel Almiron for a club-record fee has come at just the right time.

Benitez has been forced to use a back-five system with a line of four in the middle to thwart the opposition, but the availability of Almiron and Barreca is likely to prompt a more positive approach from the manager. While the former has lightning pace, acceleration, guile and vision to fill in the role of a wide forward or a second striker off Salomon Rondon, the presence of a specialist left-wing back will allow Matt Ritchie to play in a much more advanced position.

Both of them can add a lot more pace to the team, which is likely to make Newcastle more potent on the counter-attack and Rondon can expect a lot more joy inside the box. This combined with the fact that that the team has other quality attacking players – does make them a better prospect now.

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Newcastle currently sit 15th in the standings with 24 points, just a couple of points clear of the relegation zone. Benitez’s men did exceptionally well to pull off a surprise win against Man City last week but they couldn’t replicate the same feat against Spurs in the next game.

Read More: Newcastle would be very wise to sign this former Premier League champion on a free transfer and here’s why

There is still plenty of time for them to secure a respectable finish. The presence of Almiron and Barreca will certainly help their cause.

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Newcastle United signing this composed 27-year-old midfielder would provide Benitez with a real asset – Here’s why



Newcastle United Opinion: Why the Magpies should sign Nemanja Gudelj?

According to a report from O Jogo, Newcastle United are interested in signing Guangzhou Evergrande midfielder Nemanja Gudelj.

The Serbian international, 27, joined Tianjin TEDA from Ajax in January 2017 before signing a two-year deal with fellow Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande a year later. On August 2018, he was loaned to Sporting Lisbon where he managed 43 appearances across all competitions.

The report claims Nemanja Gudelj is seeking a move back to Europe and Newcastle are interested in offering him a route back, but the Magpies will face competition from Real Betis, Galatasaray and Fenerbahce.

Rafael Benitez is out of contract at Newcastle this summer, and no new deal is in place as of now. The fans will want the future of Benitez to be resolved as quickly as possible, as the Spanish manager is very popular among the Newcastle fans and have done a truly great job at St. James’ Park.

So, it is important for the club to persuade Benitez to commit his future at the club before moving onto signing players.

In the ongoing summer transfer window, Newcastle will need to show some ambition while buying players. Perhaps, they must look towards their capture of Miguel Almiron from Atalanta United in the January transfer window as some hope, that there is still a chance of quality players walking in through the front door of the club.

One area the Magpies manager should definitely reinforce this summer is the midfield. Mohamed Diame has been released by the club, while the futures of both Jonjo Shelvey and Isaac Hayden remain unclear.

Ki Sung-yeung is a decent player to have in the squad and with Sean Longstaff already linked heavily with Manchester United this summer, Newcastle are in dire need of strengthening their midfield.

Gudelj would be an ideal player for Newcastle to recruit having enjoyed a decent campaign on loan for Sporting Lisbon in the Primeira Liga last term. The Serbian can dictate the tempo of the game from the middle of the park, move the ball and his team forward as well as shield the backline.

The ex-Ajax star can potentially form a strong partnership with Ki in the engine room, thriving in Benitez’s system at St. James’ Park.

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The Belgrade-born midfielder can strike the ball from long range with immense power and is capable of coming up with beauties. Also, Gudelj’s composure in possession, passing range and work-rate would make him a perfect fit at Tyneside.


Gudelj may not have previous Premier League experience, but given his talents and what he can provide, he’ll be an asset to Newcastle United.

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Newcastle United would bag an absolute steal by signing this 26-year-old defensive genius for £10.7m



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Newcastle United Opinion: Diego Laxalt could be an absolute steal for the Magpies at £10.7 million

According to claims from Gazzetta dello Sport, as cited by The Shields Gazette, Newcastle United have been linked with a move for Uruguayan international left-back Diego Laxalt.

This is not the first time, though, that the Magpies have been linked with the 26-year-old, and with AC Milan looking to secure a fee of just £10.7 million to part ways with the out-of-favour star, Newcastle have been handed a massive boost in their pursuit of the Uruguayan World Cup star. (h/t Shields Gazette)

However, if the Magpies are really serious about getting their hands on the versatile left-sided South American, they would need to fend off interest from Serie A clubs Atalanta and Torino. (h/t Shields Gazette)

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Laxalt has struggled for regular minutes at AC Milan since making his move to the San Siro from Genoa last summer.

The 26-year-old featured sporadically under former manager Gennaro Gattuso and started only 6 Serie A games in the previous campaign, although he went on to make a total of 29 appearances for the Rossoneri in all competitions.

The 26-year-old, who has 17 international caps for Uruguay under his belt and represented his nation at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, rose through the youth ranks of Defensor Sporting in his homeland before making a move to Europe with Inter Milan back in 2013.

However, Laxalt found regular minutes hard to come by at Inter and subsequently spent time on loan at Serie A clubs Empoli, Bologna and Genoa, joining the latter permanently in 2016.

Laxalt accumulated 8 goals and 17 assists in 117 appearances for Genoa in all competitions over the course of three seasons before making his move to AC Milan in the summer of 2018. However, his ill-fated spell at Milan looks likely to come to an end after just 12 months and he might as well be on his way to the Premier League, with Newcastle United holding a long-standing interest in him.

To put things into perspective, the news involving AC Milan’s low asking price for the Uruguayan should please the fans at Tyneside and it is a no-brainer that Laxalt’s arrival would go a long way towards solving the club’s left-sided conundrum.

The Magpies need to bring in a new left-back or a wing-back this summer to take the pressure off Matt Ritchie’s shoulders and the 26-year-old certainly presents a quality and affordable option in the market.

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Benitez apparently lacked the personnel to implement his back-three system with two wing-backs, which is probably why Ritchie was used in that unfamiliar left wing-back role last season.

He still managed to contribute with 2 goals and 8 assists in the Premier League but Newcastle should look to use him in a more advanced role next season in order to maximise his potential.

Laxalt’s versatility to play at left-back, left wing-back and central midfield should help Newcastle solve a lot of problems simultaneously, although it is still unclear what role the club has in mind for him if they do go ahead with a deal to bring him in this summer.

A robust, hardworking, pacey and tricky customer on the pitch, the Uruguayan has the ability to control the game in the midfield with his good range of passing and game-reading skills but he is also adept at using his pace, dribbling and drive to good effect down the flanks, making him a good fit for either role.

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Laxalt has a good eye for final balls in the attacking third, and that, coupled with his ability to deal with the transitions in play and deliver pin-point crosses into the box make him a wonderful utility player for any team in the world.

Newcastle should relish the prospect of having him at left-back next season, although they could also choose to use him in central midfield, given the uncertainty over the futures of Mo Diame, Issac Hayden and Jonjo Shelvey.

Last season’s breakout star Sean Longstaff has also attracted interest from Man United, meaning that Newcastle are in serious danger of losing a lot of cover in central midfield this summer. (h/t Manchester Evening News)

The Magpies are yet to sort out the future of Rafael Benitez at the club, amidst talks of a multi-million-pound takeover by Dubai-based Bin Zayed Group. Newcastle could well be set for a massive spending spree this summer should the cash-rich Middle Eastern group assume ownership of the club before the end of the transfer window.

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Leaving all those talks aside, the acquisition of Diego Laxalt would certainly be a massive coup for the Magpies and £10.7 million for an experienced and talented player him might prove to be an absolute steal for the club.

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Middlesbrough would make a solid statement by signing this 24-goal hitman to fire themselves to promotion



Middlesbrough Opinion: Why Boro should go all out to sign Dwight Gayle?

According to a report from the Daily Star, Middlesbrough are interested in signing Newcastle United striker Dwight Gayle this summer.

Dwight Gayle, 28, spent the last season on long at West Brom, with Salomon Rondon going the opposite direction. He netted 24 goals in 39 Championship appearances, being one of the driving forces behind the Baggies promotion charge which ended in play-off semi-finals defeat to rivals Aston Villa.

After it was confirmed that West Brom would spend another season in England’s second tier, the club opted not to make Gayle’s signing permanent.

Gayle is back at Newcastle but isn’t expected to stay as he is not a part of Rafael Benitez’s future plans. That being said, Middlesbrough must do everything possible to sign the 28-year-old this summer.

Middlesbrough appointed Jonathan Woodgate as their manager on Friday to succeed Tony Pulis, who departed at the end of last season when Boro missed out on the play-offs. The 39-year-old will have a huge task of building the squad as per his own image and playing an attractive brand of football to bring the fans back to Riverside.

By bringing in several quality additions during the transfer window, Woodgate will undoubtedly be pushing for promotion next term. Following a season in which Middlesbrough scored just 49 goals, it’s clear where the newly-appointed manager should focus first while signing players.

A need to strengthen the centre-forward department is paramount, with a lack of goals proving to be really troublesome for Boro last season. And with this mind, Dwight Gayle would be perfect for the Teesside outfit.

In recent years, Gayle has thrived in the second tier of English football and his record in the second-tier of English football is phenomenal. During the recently concluded season, the experienced striker scored 24 goals from his 39 Championship appearances for West Brom, who finished fourth in the division.

That simply tells what a lethal finisher the 28-year-old is and how would he help Boro improve upon the potency of their play in the final third next term.

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If Gayle returns to the Championship next season, the team that lands him will surely be in with a brilliant chance of getting across the line in the promotion race. If it is Middlesbrough, his goals could make all the difference at the Riverside Stadium.


Woodgate will be well aware that he’ll need more depth and quality in forward department to mount a promotion charge, but it remains to be seen how a player like Gayle would be welcomed by the Middlesbrough faithful.

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