Rafa Benitez looks set to begin Newcastle United’s summer spending spree, carefully working his way into the reported £100m transfer kitty by making Christian Atsu’s loan move from Chelsea permanent.
Whilst Atsu was not wholly convincing at St James’ Park this season, at 25 he still has his best years ahead of him and will surely progress under the stewardship of Benitez.
There are other areas that need strengthening within Newcastle’s team, including the central midfield, with Jonjo Shelvey, Jack Colback, Mo Diame and Isaac Hayden, Benitez’s only real options.
Diame is more suited to an advanced role and Colback has been extremely inconsistent in the Sky Bet Championship this season, with Benitez preferring to use an axis of Shelvey and Hayden.
Shelvey’s quality is there for everybody to see, but Hayden, 22, is still inexperienced and has never featured in the top-flight, making the central midfield an area Benitez must be looking to strengthen.
According to the Australian media, Aaron Mooy is on Newcastle’s radar and a bid is already down for the Manchester City midfielder, who has excelled on-loan with Huddersfield Town in the Championship this season.
Mooy has scored four goals and added a further seven assists this season, helping Huddersfield unexpectedly reach the play-offs.
The Australian international’s future is unclear, and it appears Benitez is keen to add Mooy to his armour ahead of next season, a move that has the potential to be an excellent piece of business.
Despite not having any top-flight experience, Mooy has dominated in the Championship this season, showing he has what it takes to make the step up and compete with the elite.
Shelvey and Mooy would give Benitez a creative midfield pairing, but the latter’s ability to push forward into a ‘number ten’ role, would also give Newcastle another dimension heading into next season.
City are expected to demand around £10m for Mooy’s service, but with Newcastle’s healthy transfer kitty, a move for the midfield maestro wouldn’t be a risk at all for Benitez.