Rafa Benitez needs to start scouring the market with January on the horizon.
If the Boxing Day loss to Sheffield Wednesday is anything to go by, January will feel like a long month to Newcastle United.
With Jonjo Shelvey serving the first of a five-game ban, The Magpies were outscored and outplayed, ending the round of matches second in the table after being usurped by Brighton.
And, according to the Daily Mail, Rafa Benitez will have to look elsewhere for a player to compensate for his influential midfielder’s enforced absence. Ruben Loftus-Cheek, it is reported, will not be heading to the second tier on loan as Chelsea would rather he honed his craft in the Premier League.
But that doesn’t exactly help Newcastle. So where else could they look for a short-term stop-gap?
Marco Van Ginkel
If Loftus-Cheek’s long term future is the heart of the Stamford Bridge engine room, nobody is quite sure where Van Ginkel will end up. Now 24, the six-time Dutch international still has only two Premier League appearances for Chelsea on a nomadic CV.
Newcastle attempted to sign the talented attacking midfielder in the summer of 2015 and could revive their interest with Van Ginkel, who once looked destined to fill the boots of Rafael Van Der Vaart or Wesley Sneijder at international level, though Dutch champions PSV have made their interest clear, per Sky Sports.
A six month loan spell at the Phillips Stadium last season yielded eight goals in 13 Eredivisie appearances, not to mention a league title. Van Ginkel’s talents may have been restricted to the reserves this season but he clearly knows what it takes in the crucial final stretch.
Another jewel in City’s diamond-encrusted academy, the 19-year-old has everything you’d expect in a young midfielder reared under the Mediterranean sun; effortless technique, innate vision and an ability to distribute the ball confidently with either foot.
While Van Ginkel would add goals to the midfield, Garcia would provide balance and anchorage, allowing his deep-lying colleagues to join the attack at will.
It only seems a matter of time before Pep Guardiola, who shared more than a few striking similarities with his teenage protégé in his playing career, thrusts him into the forefront of the star-studded City side but, for now, a tad more first-team experience wouldn’t go amiss.
Dubbed ‘the Serbian Gerrard’ and moving to Anfield at 20; Grujic has more than enough character to match his quality. Not that Liverpool fans have had too many opportunities to witness him in full flight thus far with his most recent Premier League appearances coming all the way back in September.
Clearly, Jurgen Klopp believes Grujic needs some time to acclimatise to the unique ecosystem of English football but where better to sample the roaring atmosphere and the die-hard commitment of our localised game than St James’ Park in the Championship?
A powerful, rangy midfielder with a powerful strike, the Serbian is exactly the kind of player who would get Newcastle fans off their seats. Not that they need much encouragement.