Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Why Rafa's Had to Keep Eyes Peeled for the First Blink That Marks Start of Mayhem

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Why Rafa's Had to Keep Eyes Peeled for the First Blink That Marks Start of Mayhem

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Waugh

IT is always the case, but on this occasion more than ever: the final 24 to 36 hours of the transfer window is one huge game of who blinks first.

Deals are there to be had, proposed transfers are all but agreed in principle, yet it requires the first signing to be completed before the chain reaction occurs.

Newcastle United are keen to complete deals as the summer marketplace enters its final throes but, as ever, the Magpies are waiting on others.

The domino effect is yet to really take hold this summer - usually, in the final fortnight of the window, a flurry of deals occur - but there is still time.

Rafa Benitez would ideally still like another four players - a goalkeeper, a left-back, an attacking-midfielder and a striker - though privately Newcastle accept such feverish activity is unlikely. However, a couple of incomings coulda still be completed. Kenedy's loan move to Tyneside, which has been all-but agreed for a fortnight, should go through, while either a goalkeeper or left-back could arrive.

The problem Newcastle are having is that other deals have been delayed, stunting movement and creating a log jam.

Chelsea had hoped to sign Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Arsenal as a new wing-back option, but the England international's move has stalled due to Liverpool's interest.

Antonio Conte is reluctant to allow Kenedy, someone who can operate anywhere down the left, depart before he has reinforcements through the door.

Such issues have affected Newcastle all summer, with clubs unwilling to take a gamble on the big earners who are surplus to requirements in the Magpies squad until they have moved players on themselves.

That's why Emmanuel Riviere, Siem de Jong and Grant Hanley were not discarded until the last week of the window, and why the likes of Jack Colback and Tim Krul still face uncertain futures as the window enters its final hours. …

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