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Newcastle are blindly walking into a relegation fight.....again

The first game of the season is getting closer and closer and Newcastle's transfer business has been underwhelming. 

Hearts v Sunderland - Pre Season Friendly
Rafa Benitez is becoming frustrated with the lack of activity on the transfer front.
Photo by Christian Cooksey/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur will rock up to St James' Park in less than three weeks. Tottenham Hotspur. One of the very best teams in the country. The last time they did, of course all Newcastle fans will remember the outcome, but things were so different back then.

Granted, not much time has passed, but both teams are at a totally different stage than what they were. Tottenham had lost all momentum after the Chelsea defeat and Newcastle, well, the pressure was off after they were relegated. The phrase "shop window" springs to mind.

Let's be honest for a moment here, as of right now, if both squads remained the same, Tottenham would most probably rip Newcastle to pieces.

Rafa Benitez is frustrated. Anyone that says any different is talking rubbish. Most managers are. The difference between most and Rafa however, is that they do not have the power to back their respective clubs into a corner. Benitez does. He does not need to be at Newcastle, but my, do Newcastle need him to be there.

As things stand, £30 million has been spent. That sounds okay on the face of it, but when you look at the transfer activity in finer detail, it tells a totally different story.

Christian Atsu isn't really a new signing. The £6 million deal for him was sensible, if not spectacular.

Florian Lejeune is a good defender by all accounts, but has already made one howler in pre-season. He will need time adjusting to the league and learning the language.

Javier Manquillo is a bemusing signing. When I heard about it, I honestly thought it was a Sunderland fan taking the you know what. Either Benitez sees something in him, or he knows that no other targets are attainable at this stage. If the latter is true, that is worrying in itself.

Hull City v Sunderland - Premier League
Javier Manquillo was a very surprising signing.
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The deal I am happy with is the Jacob Murphy one. Yes, the price tag is steep for a player that has never played in the Premier League. Although, his talent is unquestionable, his attitude is spot on and most importantly, he can only get better. I have the upmost confidence in Jacob scoring some goals and creating some for others. If he can manage more than, lets say, six goals and assists, he will have done well in his debut Premier League season.

The big issue is that, there are some huge voids in the team and the club are showing no signs of addressing them.

Newcastle United have four midfielders available right now. Jonjo Shelvey is the best player at the club in my eyes, he will be just fine. Then you have Isaac Hayden, Jack Colback and Mo Diame. Hayden has proven to be very good and will be ready in time, but not yet. Colback is useless (sorry, he is) and Diame is just as bad. Reinforcements are desperately needed, and Sam Clucas is not who I'm talking about. We need better.

Much has been made of whether or not Siem De Jong will be given another chance on Tyneside. I'm all for it, but what if it doesn't work out, like before? Is Ayoze Perez going to take games by the scruff of the neck and drag us over the line? Truthfully, he has the ability to, but the answer is probably not. So, who does that leave? Nobody. Again, we need reinforcements and the fact that we aren't going after players like Ryad Boudebouz, who is available for £12-15 million, boggles my mind.

Preston North End v Newcastle United - Pre Season Friendly
A big season lies ahead for Ayoze Perez.
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Be honest with yourself when I ask this, do you have faith in Dwight Gayle or Aleksandar Mitrović to score 12+ this season? Don't get me wrong, I rate both players highly. Gayle was fantastic last term, but I have serious concerns about him playing as a long striker at the top level, and also worry about his hamstring injuries. Mitrović scored nine in his first Premier League campaign, at the age of 21. It was not quite enough at the time, but was by no means disastrous. To put it into perspective, the most Gayle has ever managed in a single campaign is seven. With the sale of Daryl Murphy, there are literally only those two available to Benitez now. I sincerely hope Murphy being sold means headway is being made on the striker search, but I have my doubts. Bottom line, if a goalscoring centre forward (or two) is not signed before the end of the window, then Newcastle are in trouble.

Fans have every right to be worried at this stage, but of course, there is still time. If Lee Charnley wasn't under pressure before, he certainly is now. Time will tell just how well he manages to sort deals out, but anything less than what is required is a failure. After the Steve McClaren debacle and the resulting relegation, he seriously cannot afford another failure.