Newcastle 1-2 Wolves: Chris Waddle on a pivotal time for the Magpies

Match of the Day 2 analysis

A lot of my friends are Newcastle die-hards and, like every Magpies fan I have spoken to recently, they are desperately hoping my old club gets a new owner soon.

Mike Ashley has been trying to sell Newcastle since October 2017 and says takeover talks are at a more advanced stage than ever, but a lot of supporters are cynical about that because they have heard it all before.

I can understand why, because the same thing seems to happen every year - usually just before the January transfer window opens - when Ashley comes out and says he hopes a deal can be done.

I still think we will be talking about a possible takeover at the end of the season too - when we will either be saying Newcastle have done well to stay up, or they have paid the price for the lack of investment in the team and have gone down, again.

Stop Rondon and you stop Newcastle?

Ruben Vinagre heads the ball away from Salomon Rondon
Rondon (right) is Newcastle's top scorer in the Premier League this season, with three goals. The Magpies have scored 13 times in 16 PL games in 2019-19 - only Huddersfield, with 10, have managed fewer.

There is no doubt Newcastle are in a relegation battle. Sunday's last-gasp defeat by Wolves was the seventh time out of nine games that they have lost at home in the Premier League this season, and they are only three points above the relegation zone.

I actually thought the result was harsh on the Magpies, who were the better team when they had 11 men and handled Wolves pretty well even after DeAndre Yedlin was sent off with more than half an hour to go.

Defensively, Newcastle were very well organised, which is what you expect from a Rafael Benitez team - he knows how to set a side up to be hard to beat.

The reason I worry about whether they will stay up is what they do at the other end, because they never look like scoring enough goals to get themselves out of trouble.

Snapshot of Newcastle in the Premier League: 13th Watford, 14th Cardiff, 15th Newcastle, 16th Crystal Palace, 17th Burnley, 18th Huddersfield

At the moment, everything they do in attack goes through Salomon Rondon, who is on a season-long loan from West Brom. Rondon did brilliantly in the first half against Wolves, who just could not handle him.

But he ran himself into the ground chasing lost causes and much of Newcastle's attacking threat disappeared when he ran out of steam, which is what happened after the break.

Without him, there is not a lot else. Ayoze Perez got the Magpies' equaliser but he scores about one goal every 20 chances, which at this level is not good enough.

What do they need in January? Two attacking players

Newcastle XI v Wolves: Dubravka, Ritchie, Clark, Lascelles, Fernandez, Yedlin, Perez, Sung-yueung, Diame, Atsu, Rondon
Salomon Rondon led the line for Newcastle

Newcastle get in some good areas when they get forward but, even with Rondon on the pitch, they seem to be short of ideas at the moment. It is almost as if they just put the ball in the box towards him and hope.

But what they are are lacking up front is not down to Benitez's coaching or his tactics - you know they are short because his hands have been tied in the transfer market.

To put that right, I think he needs two attacking players in January - a goalscorer and a creative player too, someone who can beat someone and see something in the final third.

If Newcastle can add those two players to what they have already got, I think they will finish well up the league.

It would not matter if they are loan deals until the end of the season like Rondon, but they have to be a priority for whoever is running the club.

Without those additions then, for all their organisation, shape and effort, it is going to be a long and hard season if they do not have the ability to create good chances and put the ball in the net.

I still think Benitez would keep them up, but it will be touch and go.

Benitez wants to stay - but will he walk?

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Rafael Benitez 'can't believe' red card decision

Benitez's future is another reason this is a pivotal time for Newcastle.

He is entering the final six months of his contract and there is obviously a risk he will decide to walk away when it ends next summer.

Rafa told BBC Radio 5 live this week that he wants to stay, and he clearly wants to move the club forward. Like many people, he believes Newcastle should be a top-six club.

But he is a manager with a proven success record so he is going to get offered some tasty jobs elsewhere in the next few months and you could not blame him if he were tempted to take one of them.

Why would he stay? Well, Benitez has got a great affinity with the supporters and he is probably looking at the situation in the same way many of the fans are - and thinking if a new owner comes in, and is willing to spend some money, then things could really take off at Newcastle.

This is a club that is up for sale and that has so much potential - we are talking about a team in a one-club city, with a top manager, great support with crowds of 53,000 at every home game, a fantastic stadium and a top-class training ground.

What else do you need to kick on? Everything is in place, which is why I am so surprised no-one has bought it yet.

If there is a serious buyer out there, why can't Ashley just sell? It does not seem to have been a problem for all the other clubs we have seen change hands in the past few years, but for some reason at Newcastle it does not seem it is easy to get a deal done.

If Ashley wants to sell, then he should do it and move on. Leave and let the new owners do what they want to do to try to make this club great again, or at least make some progress.

That is all the fans want, because their club has been stood still now for too many years.

Something needs to happen, otherwise, we will just be talking about this again in a few months.

And, if Newcastle do end up being relegated for the third time since Ashley bought them in 2007, what a travesty that would be.

Chris Waddle was speaking to BBC Sport's Chris Bevan at St James' Park.

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