Fulham’s talisman Tom Cairney was on Benítez’ shopping cart in the summer but a move failed to materialise as the London side were keen to keep hold of their prized asset. A move that possibly had a player incoming from the other side in the form of Newcastle’s Dwight Gayle was rejected by Fulham. However, Newcastle United are unwilling to back down in their pursuit for the highly rated midfielder who could possibly be the final piece of the jigsaw for Rafa Benítez’ side and apparently Benitez is prioritising the move of this Fulham star.
The player who earned a place in the PFA Championship Team of The Year evidently showed in his performances as to why the Magpies were desperate for his services. Possessing a vicious left foot, the Scottish International scored 13 goals to go with his 10 assists last campaign. He averages a pass percentage of 92.5.
While one would assume that this sum is merely due to passes either backwards or sideways, he banishes that with 2.6 key passes per game, a figure that surpasses Jonjo Shelvey’s of 2.1. Slipping through passes is not just his game as he is known to give it a go at goal himself with an average 2.5 shots per game.
A midfield pairing of Shelvey and Cairney could prove to be a deadly one. These are two players who are always looking for an opportunity to cut open defences with their vision. Knowing that Shelvey goes for the Hollywood pass way too often, Cairney’s presence alongside his compatriot could come good for Benítez.
But on the other hand, Cairney is a player who has hardly any exposure to England’s elite league. He holds just 10 appearances in the Premier League in Hull City colours. It could be a huge test to the player’s quality in the grand stage given that the games in the Premier League are of a different level to that of the Championship games.
But as all know, Benítez is a very good man manager. He is extremely efficient in making use of his limited resources at hand. The Spaniard has spent just €42.3 million in the summer and finds his side 11th in the table. A few more marquee and high profile signings could bolster Newcastle’s chances to finish even higher than expected.
With that in mind, the signing of Cairney could be a tricky one. Benítez needs to make up his mind if Cairney is the kind of player to improve his team keeping in mind the Fulham star’s limited experience in the top flight.
Is Benítez’ pursuit for Cairney the right approach to strengthen his side?