There was excellent news today when the club announced that Nabil Bentaleb on loan from Schalke 04 for the remainder of the season, and we have an option to make the deal permanent in the summer – the deal is said to be 9M, so that sounds like a good deal for a good player.
The club have moved quickly to sign the 25-year-old central midfielder, and he fits the requirement that Steve Bruce has talked about for an experienced box-to-box midfielder.
And we signed him just over halfway through the window, which is unusual and very good.
The club have pointed out that he represented Algeria at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2015 and 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, and he has previous Premier League experience at Tottenham Hotspur.
He will add some significant competition in central midfield to the Longstaff bothers – in addition to Jonjo Shelvey and Isaac Hayden.
25-year-old Nabil Bentaleb – signed on loan with an option to buy this summer
That’s always very good to see – competition brings out the best in players.
Now we need to see if the club have moved sufficiently quickly enough to bring in right-sided midfielder Valentino Lazaro from Inter-Milan.
While his agent was at the game on Saturday against Chelsea and had a tour of the facilities, RB Leipzig were after him last summer and are again after him this month.
In the summer, he decided to join Inter, but it seems he will have a choice between Newcastle and Leipzig – we can only hope he chooses the Magpies and will be on his way to Tyneside – we should know within the next 48 hours – fingers crossed.
His agent was in talks with the Leipzig officials yesterday, and they seem confident they can sign the 23-year-old Austrian International
We need to bring in a left-sided defender to replace the injured duo of Paul Dummett and Jetro Willems, who are both injured and out for the rest of the season.
That helps in that it opens up two places in the 25 man side, but we need to bring in another defender with Matt Ritchie, the only one who can play that position in the squad at the moment.
And finally, maybe the most crucial player we need is a striker – somebody who can put the ball in the back of the net – and if we can do that, we should be OK this season.
We are in deep negotiations with Hull City for Jarrod Bowen, but just as happened last summer the price seems to be too high for the free-scoring Championship striker/winger.
Jarrod is having a great season with 16 goals in 28 league games for Hull City so far this season.
If Newcastle do fail to sign Valentino Lazaro, the club will again be accused of not being quick or ambitious enough to nail down a good player while he was available – something we have just achieved with Bentaleb.
It would be excellent as we pointed out yesterday if we can bring four players in during this window – and we still have until a week on Friday to do that – so we are still very hopeful.
If we can bring four talented players in – Bruce says he wants quality players only – that would be an excellent sign that the team can be improved for the second half of the season.
We’d love to see that.
A good signing in Bentaleb and a second successive league win at Everton tonight could be too much to take for some of us!
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