Newcastle v Everton: 5 Signings Who Could Make Them Champions League Contenders

Matt Cheetham@@Matt_CheethamCorrespondent IMarch 24, 2014

Newcastle v Everton: 5 Signings Who Could Make Them Champions League Contenders

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    Newcastle host Everton this Tuesday in the Premier League.

    Both clubs boast strong squads, a decent trophy haul and a large following, yet remain behind the clubs currently qualifying for the Champions League.

    In recent years, both have seen prolonged top-four challenges fizzle out by the end of the season.

    Ahead of Tuesday's clash, here's a look at a few players who could help bridge that gap for next year.

Everton: Keep Hold of Gareth Barry and Romelu Lukaku

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    Before any new targets are considered, it's vital that Everton keep ahold of two of their loan signings.

    Gareth Barry has been key to the side's changing philosophies under Roberto Martinez. Out of contract in the summer, he is a realistic acquisition who must be retained.

    Further forward, Romelu Lukaku has provided the goal threat missing for so many years at Goodison Park.

    While his off-the-ball performances haven't always been complete, it's important to remember just how young he is—still just 20and how much he can still develop.

    Roberto Martinez chose to save his transfer budget until the summer, when Everton will desperately need a striker. If Chelsea intend to sell, as unlikely as that may be, the Toffees would be foolish not to enter the running.


Newcastle: Keep Hold of Loic Remy

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    By the same token, Newcastle must extend Loic Remy's stay at St James' Park.

    On loan from QPR, the Frenchman's scored 13 goals in 23 Premier League games this season, providing a clinical presence up front.

    He's given the Magpies that crucial trait of being able to win matches without playing at an especially high level—something imperative for Champions League challengers.

    Remy deserves to be in a side competing for Europe, and for Newcastle to get there, he must be kept.


Everton: Will Hughes

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    Everton have little financial freedom and must be clever with their buys.

    They must target value for money and scout younger products more likely to increase in worth.

    Will Hughes ticks all those boxes. He is technically a cut above most players in the Championship and still just 18. Anything paid now for the Derby man would be a fraction of his eventual value.

    A natural passer and comfortable dictating a game, Hughes would be an ideal long-term successor to Gareth Barry.

    His value would inflate the moment he played in the Premier League, and he would represent sensible, progressive business from the Toffees.

Newcastle: Clement Grenier

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    Newcastle must fill the substantial void left by Yohan Cabaye in central midfield.

    One option would be to replace the French international with another by recruiting Lyon's Clement Grenier.

    The 23-year-old matches up well with Cabaye's production, ranking in Ligue 1's top 20 for passes-per-game and in the top seven for chances created, per WhoScored.

    He came close to a move in January, according to the Daily Mail’s Colin Young, and the Geordies would be wise to revisit this deal.

Everton: Bruno Martins Indi

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    Everton need to add youth to their centre-back reserves, with Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin both experienced campaigners.

    Under Martinez, the Toffees' defenders must be quickin order to play a high lineand be comfortable passing out from the back.

    Bruno Martins Indi has pace and power to suit the Premier League, as well as an improving passing game that would fit in well at Everton.

    Left-sided, he would be an ideal successor to Distin, and, at 22, he would be another signing whose value would only rise.

Newcastle: Remy Cabella

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    Elsewhere, Newcastle need to augment their creative options. 

    Remy Cabella would be another option to help cover for Cabaye, although the Montpellier man would also provide a more attacking threat.

    Another Frenchman, fitting in with the Magpies' dressing room, Cabella can operate out wide or more comfortably as a No. 10. 

    Only two players have provided more chances in Ligue 1 than Cabella this season, per, and his five assists and 10 goals account for 43 percent of Montpellier's total goals.

    By signing Cabella, Newcastle would become a more attacking, creative force next season.


Both Clubs: Wilfried Bony

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    To make the Champions League, clubs need a constant supply of goals—as Liverpool are provingas well as considerable depth in attack.

    Swansea took a chance on Wilfried Bony last summer after he had a prolific season in the Eredivisie. 

    Despite a slow start, the Ivorian's adapted well in England, scoring 19 goals in all competitions.

    Having proved that his potency translates, he should now be targeted by bigger clubs, namely Newcastle and Everton.

    At 25, Bony's entering the peak of his career and would instantly boost both clubs' firepower.


Both Clubs: Javier Hernandez

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    Another option for both to consider is Javier Hernandez.

    The Mexican remains a Champions League-calibre striker stuck on the fringes of Manchester United's first team.

    Despite never starting more than 18 games, he's reached double figures in the last three Premier League campaigns and boasted last season's best goals-per-minute ratio (94 minutes).

    He's made just four Premier League starts under David Moyes, once again hidden behind the likes of Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck.

    With United's status plummeting, this may be the summer that Hernandez considers his future.

    Newcastle and Everton would be wise to actively pursue any potential deal.