Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has looked to have made significant progress in an in attempt to bolster his United squad for the 2016/2017 season.
Throughout the next three months, The Magpies are expected to get rid of all the dead wood at the club with players like Moussa Sissoko, Gini Wijnaldum and Fabricio Coloccini likely to depart this summer.
With 46 games to play this season, plus cup games, Benitez’s men will be tested physically and mentally making it important for The Geordies to have plenty of strength in depth. The Toon Army are looking to bounce back into the Premier League at the first attempt.
Strength in depth is what United will look to achieve with Benitez revealing that he is close to making three or four new signings.
Bentiez said: "We have three or four things ready. It's just we have to start with the first one and then two or three."
He added, "We are working very hard. It's not easy, because the market is so high. But we are fine. We have three or four things ready.
"When I say ready, it's really, really nearly there," he said. "But we are waiting for someone who is working at another club and he needs to come back and sign the documents."
Newcastle are yet to sign a player this summer with the 56-year-old suggesting that the European Championships may have played a part in that: "It's impossible now with agents and the Euros. A lot of people go and they don't work."
He concluded, "It's surprising. You try to work when the transfer window is open and some technical directors are away. You cannot find them and do deals.
Who could the signings be?
A search for a striker
There has been no secret that The Magpies are in the hunt for a proven goal scorer to fire them to straight back into the Premier League. And one man that has been highly regarded on Tyneside is Fulham’s Ross McCormack. The Fulham striker scored 23 times in 49 games for The Cottagers putting himself in the category of one of the most prolific goal scorers in England’s second tier.
It has also been reported that Benitez may look to his native Spain in their second tier and his former club, Tenerife. Nano, 21, played 35 games for Tenerife last season where he managed to notch up 14 goals. United will have confidence in dealing Tenerife as they signed Ayoze Perez from there in 2014.
Back four woes
The defence of Newcastle United last season was sometimes down to the bare bones. Under Steve McClaren, United only brought in one defender in Chancel Mbemba which evidently came back round to hurt them with Newcastle having one of the worst defences in the Premier League last season.
Daryl Janmaatt and Fabricio Coloccini are open to leave Tyneside this summer meaning the back four will continue to shrink. Replacements for Janmaat and Coloccini have been identified with ex Real Madrid right-back Alvaro Arbeloa and Arsenal’s Isaac Hayden on United’s radar.
Arbeloa was a favourite under Benitez at Liverpool before the pair met again when Benitez joined Real Madrid in 2015. Unfortunately for Arbeloa, he never cemented his place in the Madrid team where he often spent most of his time as a fringe player. The right-back played his best football under Benitez. The chance to link up with his former manager may be tempting.
Hayden, who was on loan at Hull City last season helped The Tigers gain promotion back to the Premier League at the first attempt via the Play-Offs. He has returned to Arsenal following his Hull spell where he will undoubtedly find it tough to break in the North London side.
Reece Oxford, who had a spell in the West Ham first team last term is another name that has popped up. Oxford is the youngest ever player to start in the Premier League but the 17-year-old failed to nail down a play in West Ham’s successful season. The teenager can play in the back four or in the defensive midfield role. If United are to do a deal, it’ll probably be on loan.
With Sissoko and Wijnadlum almost certain to leave, Newcastle will need players who add goals and assists to the team. Lee Tomlin of Bournemouth was linked with The Magpies earlier just after the end of the season. Tomlin is a well established Championship player having had strong spells with Peterborough Middlesbrough and Bristol City, where he was loaned to last season. At City, he bagged six goals in 18 appearances.