With the January transfer window now open, HITC Sport looks at three key areas in which Newcastle United may be looking for reinforcements.
After an excellent start to their Championship campaign, Newcastle United fans will be hoping their club can keep up their impressive form throughout January and beyond. However, with many of the teams around them looking to improve their squad in January, Benitez may well be searching for a few extra bodies to help reinforce the Magpies' impressive promotion charge.
With that in mind, we take a look at three key areas where Newcastle United might be looking to recruit, to either add something different to their team, or to reinforce an already solid squad.
Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez
A New Full-Back
Despite conceding only 20 league goals this season, Newcastle United are in need of reinforcements at full-back. Currently fielding Paul Dummet (a centre-back by trade) and Vernon Anita (a midfielder) in those positions, Benitez is likely to be on the lookout for a loan signing of a full-back. With Bournemouth's Tyrone Mings and Liverpool's Joe Gomez not getting game time, a loan approach for either would be smart business.
Liverpool's Joe Gomez in action with former Bournemouth midfielder Matt Ritchie
A Midfield Enforcer
At times this season, Newcastle United have lacked a little bite in the centre of midfield. With Jack Colback performing fairly inconsistently for the Magpies, and Jonjo Shelvey struggling with disciplinary issues, Benitez may well be in the market for a tough-tackling midfielder to help cover his defence and break up opposition play. One player who has caught the eye for this role is Bradley Johnson of Derby County. Joining last summer, Johnson wouldn't be cheap and Derby wouldn't be keen to sell, but the 29-year-old would be a great addition.
Derby's Bradley Johnson
A New Left Winger
A lot of Newcastle United's success this season has come down their right hand side, with new signing Matt Ritchie becoming one of the Toon Army's highlights of the season. Providing goals and assists, Ritchie has been a revelation for Newcastle, but this threat hasn't been replicated on the Magpies' left. Playing Yoan Gouffran out wide (a player who has played most of his career as a striker), Benitez is in need of a proper out-and-out winger for his side's left flank. With Bournemouth's Jordan Ibe also unable to get much game time, the youngster would be an ambitious but intriguing target, as would Sheffield Wednesday's Fernando Forestieri.
Sheffield Wednesday's Fernando Forestieri