Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Nine to Sign - Our Shopping List for Rafa; PLAYERS WHO WOULD KICK-START UNITED'S PROMOTION PUSH

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Nine to Sign - Our Shopping List for Rafa; PLAYERS WHO WOULD KICK-START UNITED'S PROMOTION PUSH

Article excerpt

Byline: MARK DOUGLAS Newcastle United editor mark.douglas@ncjmedia.co.uk @msidouglas

IT is going to be a summer of unprecedented change at Newcastle United - if Rafa Benitez agrees to take over at St James' Park.

These are uncertain days on Tyneside. Benitez might be happy with the terms being talked about but even if he signs up for three more years there is work to be done sifting through a squad not fit for purpose last season.

There was talent there but no balance. So Benitez and the probable new-look recruitment team will have to go about building a squad not afflicted by the same problems last year's group was, while also adding players capable of performing in the Championship.

The process has already begun. Benitez and his people have already started to talk to agents but any discussions are at a preliminary stage - so links to Lee Tomlin seem to be a case of jumping the gun.

That does not stop us from coming up with our own shopping list. Donning the metaphorical tin hat, here is my Championship hit-list for Newcastle this summer: Nahki Wells (Huddersfield Town, striker) Phil Parkinson spoke to friend and former colleague Alan Pardew about Wells when he was at Bradford City but Newcastle were never likely to sign a League Two player for a Premier League side.

Two years on and it looks more like he fits the bill.

United lack pace in their forward options and Wells has it, plus a track record in the Championship - he was the sixth-top scorer in the second tier with 17 goals.

They looked at Andre Gray at one point but it is unlikely he will leave Premier League-bound Burnley.

Bradford City have a sell-on clause and Huddersfield insist they don't want to sell but he would offer United something different.

Lewis Cook (Leeds United, midfielder) How many 19-yearolds have nearly 100 games at Championship level under their belts already? Cook is Leeds' young player of the year and Newcastle were scouting him last summer, when Massimo Cellino probably would have parted with him.

Newcastle need proven secondtier players with the potential to improve if they go up, so he fits the bill.

Being realistic, Premier League clubs might steal a march. Prising him from Elland Road, where uncertainty reigns, would hardly be easy but he looks like a prospect.

Lewis Baker (Chelsea, midfielder) Highly-rated and will be looking for an English loan move after a season at Vitesse Arnhem.

Two-footed and in the Dele Alli mould, he actually played for Luton Town before signing for Chelsea Would add legs and offensive threat to a Newcastle midfield which perhaps needs to be freshened up.

James Morrison (West Brom, midfielder) Morrison is hardly likely to be short of offers and West Brom are ready to thrash out a deal for the Scotland midfielder - who will be out of contract at the end of June. …

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