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The Aussies View: Where do we stand at the turn of the year, and what do we need to do to improve?

G'day Newcastle fans, I know it's been a while since you've seen an article from me, I've had a lot going on.

So, it's January. That means a couple of things. It's a new year and the transfer window is once again open. However, before I address the transfer window, I will quickly address our standing in the Premier League (hint, it's better than S********d's). As you would know, we are currently 13th at the time of writing, although we are only 2 points above the dreaded 18th position. In my opinion, 2 teams are virtually relegated already (Swansea and West Brom), as they seem to be devoid of ideas and ability. That leaves one more spot in the drop zone, and we need to ensure that we avoid that. I don't think we will accrue 40 points this season, but it looks like a significantly lower total (33-35) will probably be enough this season to hold onto a place in the Premier League. The bottom end of this league is very even, so beating the teams around us over the next few months will be vital, especially at home where we are playing a number of these games.

Verdict: I think we will stay up (investment will make this task easier though)

However, to make sure that the team who takes the other place in the Championship next season is not us, we obviously need some investment in the squad during the January window. At the time of writing (Jan 7 2018), Rafa still does not appear to know his transfer budget and it looks like we will have to box smart (Cheers Mike, you're welcome to sell at any time). So, bearing that in mind, how should we go about this transfer window?

In my opinion, the fact that there is a World Cup at the end of the season is a massive help. The reason for this is that players, especially those on the fringes of their national team are going to want game time to ensure that they are on the plane to Russia. There are a number of players who are touch and go for a place in their national squad, but are not getting much game time and we should be working to exploit this, especially with loan deals.

These players include the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Danny Ings, Andy Carroll and Michy Batshuayi. I have singled these four players out because they all could be available to sign either permanently or on loan this window, and the fact that they are all strikers, and we need a striker.

Additionally, we also could do with a goalkeeper, left back and an attacking midfielder (although Perez has found some form). We have been heavily linked with Kenedy from Chelsea on loan (which would mean we could not sign Batshuayi on loan) and Real Madrid's Kiko Casilla, who could be available for a nominal fee if the media is to be believed. I believe that both of these players would be great acquisitions for us and would certainly help to provide more stability at the back. We've also been linked with a number of other players, but you've all read the media too.

We probably be linked with every name under the sun this January, and we definitely need to make some signings, so it will be a very interesting to see who we actually bring in the door.

Anyway, if you've made it to this point, thank you for reading my take on where we are right now. For poor quality tweeting or to discuss my article with me, follow me on Twitter @AUSLiamNUFC.

By the way, I hope you've all enjoyed the Ashes series as much as I have.

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