Early Transfer Activity by Newcastle United

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Early transfer activity by Newcastle United spells new horizons for the Tyneside club. Under the new Rafa Benitez-led regime, United appear to be securing key signings early in order to allow the squad to gel during pre-season. This follows Benitez’s plans to veto any corporate-orientated pre-season friendlies like in the last campaign. Instead he will focus on team cohesion and preparation for a taxing season ahead.

Newcastle Sign Matz Sels

The Belgian Goalkeeper was announced as the club’s first summer signing from Jupiler League side KAA Gent. A winner of the Belgian title and Super Cup in 2014/15, Sels also claimed the accolade of Belgian Jupiler League goalkeeper of the year last season. While some may not consider Belgium to be the most testing league to play in, Sels also has experience in the UEFA Champions League. His Gent side reached the last 16 only to be knocked out by German club Wolfsburg. At just 24 years old, the Sels’ signing probably indicates the departure of one or two of the club’s goalkeepers. Dutch international Tim Krul is the favourite to depart following his long injury lay-off. The form of back-up ‘keepers Karl Darlow and Rob Elliot is also a concern.

Townsend Moves On Amidst Early Transfer Activity

One departure that has disappointed the entire Newcastle United fan base is that of England winger Andros Townsend. Signed for a fee of £12m in the January transfer window, Townsend was instrumental in United’s late fightback to try and stave off relegation. Ultimately unsuccessful in retaining Premier League status, he will always be fondly remembered for a stunning free-kick against his new employers Crystal Palace. Townsend leaves for £13m and dedicated a message to all associated with Newcastle United on his personal social media account.

Dwight Gayle Joins

More positive news was the signing of Crystal Palace’s striker Dwight Gayle for a fee of £10m. Gayle has been the top scorer at Selhurst Park for the past three seasons despite being a fringe player. Many Palace fans were disappointed to see him leave. Boss Rafa Benitez lauded the signing as excellent progress and spoke about Gayle’s ability, in particular his finishing. Gayle scored 15 goals in 27 starts during his Premier League career. Gayle himself is said to be ‘ecstatic’ at the move. He hopes to begin life in the Championship with a bang in the club’s quest to return to the Premier League.

Matt Ritchie Signs in Reported £12m Deal

It has been a whirlwind of early transfer activity at Newcastle United over the past couple of days and there seemed to be no signs of letting up. The club announced their third signing of the summer, – and their second in 24 hours -with the acquisition of Bournemouth‘s Matt Ritchie. The Scottish international is nothing short of a coup for a Championship club. Ritchie was influential in Bournemouth’s Championship-winning season of 2014-15 with 15 goals and 17 assists. He is an experienced and supremely talented player at this level, and comes as a direct replacement for Andros Townsend. The size and prestige of Newcastle United, along with the reputation of Benitez has been a key factor in securing the signing.

With both Ritchie and Gayle signing prior to the first day of pre-season, it is expected the pair will join up with the rest of the squad for the new season’s preparations.

Captain Heading Home?

It has been reported in the past 48 hours or so that long-serving club captain Fabricio Coloccini is heading back to Newcastle in order to finalise talks with the management over a potential move back to his former club San Lorenzo in Argentina. Notorious for being the club that Pope Francis supports, Coloccini’s father is Sporting Director at the Buenos Aires side.

Both Coloccini and San Lorenzo have been keen on a potential move for some time. With a year left on his current United deal he may be available at a cut price or a departure by mutual consent may be agreed to allow the Argentine to leave for free. Whether this deal goes through remains to be seen, as there are a number of moving parts that could prevent him from leaving the club once again. However, with the present circumstances and Benitez now at the helm, a move away back to his boyhood club may well be firmly on the cards.

 

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