Of the many clubs braced for the scrap for survival, few have as much uncertainty hanging over them as Newcastle United. Only five clubs spent less than the Magpies during the summer transfer window, yet they lie 13th in the Premier League table, nestled just below fellow newly-promoted clubs Huddersfield Town and Brighton and Hove Albion.

And that is where the positives end. If Newcastle are to build on their encouraging start they must compete in the rat race that is the January transfer window, but as things stand they could be set for another winter of discontent.

With Amanda Staveley's proposed takeover having stalled and Mike Ashley unwilling to invest in a club he has no interest in owning, Newcastle face being left behind by their rivals in similar fashion, to the summer when just six new faces arrived.

Benitez was not permitted to sign a single player last January, but went on to guide the Toon to the Championship title. It would take a minor miracle for him to perform similar heroics this time around and keep Newcastle afloat, particularly given that investment elsewhere will be free-flowing.

What they need

Firstly, some guarantee that funds will be available. Staveley had hoped to take charge of the St James' Park club by the turn of the year after submitting a £250m bid to Ashley. The sportswear tycoon wants closer to £300m and is unwilling to agree to a series of penalties should Newcastle be relegated this season.

Staveley had pledged to repay Ashley any money he invested in the transfer market while takeover talks were progressing, but with no progress having been made with the PCP Capital Partners chief Ashley won't take such a risk, having yet to firm up a prospective new owner.

Reports that Benitez could have between £30m and a portion of a £500m investment have surfaced amid Staveley being linked with a takeover, but that figure will surely be closer to zero if Ashley remains as owner beyond the end of the window.

Who could join

Liverpool strike Danny Ings is destined to leave Anfield in the search of first team football, but Newcastle will face competition from West Ham United, West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City in their efforts to secure a six-month loan deal.

A move for Chelsea winger Kenedy collapsed during the summer but that could be reignited during January, but reports of a move for Manchester United's Luke Shaw have been quelled by his recent run in the Old Trafford first team.

Without Staveley's backing then a move for Cenk Tosun is out of the question but Jack Hendry of Dundee and Jasper Cillessen of Barcelona could be more realistic. Magpies fans can forget about a move for Fernando Torres.

Who could leave

Jack Colback and Jamie Sherry have been told they can leave Newcastle this winter. Benitez has reportedly informed ex-Sunderland man Colback he won't play again for the club having not made a senior appearance all season, while a loan move to the Championship is in the offing for right-back Sherry.

One-time England international Jonjo Shelvey continues to divide opinion on Tynside having registered up more red cards than goals this season and could be sold to finance moves for a goalkeeper or a forward. West Ham are among the clubs interested.

Henri Sarvet marked his only Premier League appearance of the season with a goal against the Hammers on Boxing Day and is available for £5m, according to The Mirror. Aleksandar Mitrovic wants to leave the north east too having fallen behind Dwight Gayle, Joselu and Ayoze Perez in the pecking order.

What the manager has said

Speaking after the 1-0 win over Stoke City, Benitez said, according to The Chronicle: "We are trying to do our best (with transfers), and we will see what can happen. But now it is about enjoying today and trying to concentrate on the next game. Everyone has to do his job."

Rafael Benitez
Benitez will have limited resources to play with this January. Getty Images