‘And Newcastle United crash out of the FA Cup yet again. Surely an exit as immensely disappointing as this will force the organisation’s hand this January. New players are needed in order to salvage the season before it’s too late’.
How many more Januarys must Magpie fans express this sentiment? For consecutive mid-season transfer windows, the need for addition has seemed so obvious. Yet the club has refrained from making any moves of real substance, luckily managing to remain in the Premier League.
Alan Shearer’s reaction to the defeat illustrates exactly why this has to be the moment that spurs the club to spend big. Newcastle tried to win this game; a full strength squad was featured by the Mags, with the only change caused by injury (Mbabu for Colback). Yet they lost to a Watford side that rested key players.
Something isn’t right with this team. But sheer talent isn’t the issue.
Wijnaldum could probably start for any side in the Premier League.
Sissoko is often a starter for a strong French international team.
Perez has numerous suitors wanting to snatch him away and seems destined for a Spain call-up. Mbemba has really taken to the league and Colo, though on the decline, can still deliver some solid performances.
This squad isn’t talented enough to challenge for the top six, but they should be miles ahead of where they are. So is the issue coaching? Partly, but can it all be attributed to McClaren and his staff? No, that would be unfair.
McClaren’s time is certainly running out, but this can’t all be his fault. The football has been better recently. The consecutive 1-0 defeats, especially the way they’ve happened, must be agonising for McClaren. To lose by missing so many chances is frustrating.
What’s especially troubling is that losses such as these tend to take their toll on the players’ mentality. The players have to feel like the universe is against them right now; confidence could be a real issue.
A change is needed. The organisation has to know that. A quality striker must be brought in to put away these chances and, ideally, bring out better performances from Mitrovic. The Lacazette rumors were encouraging and showed ambition, but actual players are needed rather than simply showing intention.
A central midfielder who is poised in possession and can unleash our attacking players is also a necessity. Granit Xhaka (Swiss midfielder) would be ideal but is probably aiming too high. Jonjo Shelvey is a proven Premier League player and would certainly be an improvement.
If new players are brought in and nothing improves, then McClaren will have to go. I appreciate him sticking to his word and playing a strong squad against Watford. And the coach is certainly giving the job everything he has. But with the talent on this team, relegation should not be a concern.
If the reports are true, Lacazette didn’t want to play for a team fighting relegation. This is an obstacle the organisation will have to hurdle when trying to bring players in.
So what should the Newcastle United selling points be?
Sell them on the fact that the talent is there, it just has to come together on the pitch.
Sell them on St. James’ Park.
And sell them on the fact that even through all this disappointing turmoil, the fans still desperately care and want the team to win; if you turn this ship around, you’ll be a hero.
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