It feels like an eternity since the Bin Zayed group announced their plans to complete a takeover of Newcastle United. A Champions League final has been played and won, Roland Garros is almost at the quarter-final stage, and Donald Trump is on a state visit to the UK.
And yet, no word from the club on their official position regarding the takeover – nor, for that matter, anything regarding Rafa Benitez’s contract situation, with the Spaniard’s current deal running out IN 27 DAYS.
Still, we have rumours. We will always have the rumours…
Rafa Benitez Weighing Up Moves for Jan Hurtado & Kevin Trapp
It’s tough to imagine Benitez is doing any kind of work whilst his status at Newcastle is completely up in the air, but he is a professional, so it isn’t too far fetched to imagine him pondering over upgrades to the Toon’s playing staff.
The Express reckons Venezuelan international Jan Hurtado has caught the eye of Newcastle’s scouts and is valued at £7m. Sure, he’s cheap, and basically an infant (only 19), but Newcastle are already in love with one Venezuelan – his name is Salomon Rondon (FOR GOODNESS SAKE, SIGN HIM ALREADY).
At the other end of the field, the same report has linked Newcastle with PSG stopper Kevin Trapp – a name that was doing the rounds on Tyneside last summer. One wonders why the Toon need another goalkeeper (Martin Dubravka is doing the job fine, is he not?), but considering Trapp is constantly being linked with the Magpies, it might be worth keeping an eye on this one.
Arsene Wenger & Jose Mourinho Discuss Future Plans After Being Linked With Toon Job
If Rafa Benitez does leave St James’ Park (please God no), two names that have been linked with filling the void are Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho.
The immediate question one asks is why either of these two legendary managers would want to work with Mike Ashley – especially considering his treatment of Benitez – but who knows what could happen?
Mourinho reacted to talk of his future, telling CalcioMercato (via the Chronicle): “I want to be happy, not necessarily win, I want to be happy and I don’t want to accept a proposal without being convinced of it, that’s what I’ve always thought, that’s why if they told me ‘today there are no conditions to win, but we want you to create the conditions to win’, then I would evaluate it.
“So I’m absolutely calm, because I know that if it doesn’t happen now, it will happen later. If I don’t have what makes me happy, I don’t go. I think I earned the right to think like this “
Wenger, on the other hand, was a little more…flakey when he was chatting with BeIN Sports: “I’m very generous and I would love to give you what you want, but I cannot give you what I want because I don’t know what I do.”
Wesley Moraes ‘Prefers’ Move to Newcastle – If Rafa Benitez Stays
That’s the claim from the Chronicle, who seem to be ignoring Calciomercato’s report that the Club Brugge forward is nearing an €18m move to Lazio.
However, the Chronicle say that a ’source close to the striker’ would prefer a move to the Toon, but only if Benitez stays in charge. Obviously, I don’t blame him, but the Wesley Moraes transfer saga seemingly dependent on Benitez’s future is just another reason why the club must do all they can to get him a new contract – regardless who the owner is.
Forgotten Striker Dwight Gayle Targeted by Rivals Boro
And finally, Championship goal-machine Dwight Gayle is being lined up by North East rivals Middlesbrough, as they look to build a strike force capable of firing them back to the top flight.
The striker, who spent last season on loan at West Brom, scored 24 goals for the Baggies, leading them into the playoffs.
The Daily Star claims Albion have ruled themselves out of another loan move for the forward, while Newcastle don’t want to keep the striker despite his goalscoring exploits in the second tier.
Previous reports have put Gayle’s price tag at between £15-20m, great money if you can get it, considering, the former Palace man clearly is about as loved by Rafa as Aleksandar Mitrovic.