Opinion: Lejeune move may only paper over cracks at Newcastle

Apart from acquiring the permanent signature of Christian Atsu, Newcastle United have failed to finalise any transfer deals so far this summer.

In the meantime, their Premier League rivals have been busy breaking the bank to strengthen their squads.

For the last month or so, Florian Lejeune has been 'close' to completing his move to the Magpies. But is the hold-up proof that Newcastle are going to struggle in the market this summer?

Lejeune hold-up

Today's market takes no prisoners. If you are not prepared to part ways with large amounts of cash, for players that quite frankly may not be worth it, you will be left behind and forced to look for an alternative. This is exactly what Newcastle's hierarchy must realise as July approaches.

Eibar's Lejeune looks set to become Newcastle's newest addition in the coming days, however the two clubs are still haggling over whether the transfer fee will be paid in instalments or upfront.

The £8.7m release clause which Newcastle have activated pales in comparison when you look at the likes of Leicester City and Everton's spending so far this window.

The fact Lee Charnley and his team are struggling to agree a deal, which can be considered cheap in today's climate, proves Newcastle fans may be in for a long summer when it comes to waiting for new arrivals.

To add to this, Bournemouth have just smashed their club record by paying £20m for Nathan Ake. These are types of figures Newcastle need to be prepared to pay if they are going to match their opponents next season.

Missed targets

If the Lejeune deal does eventually cross the line, it may merely act as a plaster over the gaping wound in Newcastle's transfer blueprint.

This is because the club have already missed out Tammy Abraham, Ruben Semedo, Enzo Perez, Aaron Mooy and other names who have been linked with a move to the North East in the past month.

Whether they have simply decided to move elsewhere to further their career, which seems to be the case with Abraham, or Newcastle have failed in their attempts to lure them to the club, something must change before now and the end of the window or the club could be lagging behind come mid-August.

Keeping Benitez sweet

And it is not just on the field where Newcastle will suffer next season if things do not improve. The rumours have once again started swirling over Rafa Benitez's future at the club because of transfer dealings.

Benitez's fury in January should have been a clear enough message to the club's hierarchy that they need to ensure promises are being kept.

Admittedly, it is early days in the window, but the Spaniard will have wanted new squad members in before pre-season to allow them a full month or so to settle in.

Benitez is unlikely to walk away from a project that he has craved for a numbers of years but his patience can only be tested so much.

There needs to be a drastic change in strategy from Charnley and his team or Newcastle face throwing away a solid foundation to build on this season.