The rumour mill has well and truly started – I think Newcastle United have been linked with around 100 players in the month of June alone.

To begin with, it goes without saying that there is not one position in this squad that can’t be realistically improved.

Lots of numbers have been bandied around when it comes to transfer budget, everywhere from £50m-£150m. I honestly can’t see Newcastle spending over £70million this summer, I think that Rafa is much smarter than that. This is highlighted by the fact that loan signings seem to be high on the list, with Tammy Abraham the first main name mentioned so far. In all honesty, I don’t actually believe that there will be that many signings. I would be surprised if we signed more than five first team players.

While getting in sufficient numbers was a key plan last year, once the summer took shape it became obvious that Benitez wanted at least two players in every position. Instead, this summer I think there will be far more emphasis on quality rather than quality.

Surely it would be better to bring in three proper first team players for £20million each, who you know are going to be PL quality, rather than six players for £10million. Obviously there is a valid argument for both – but I can’t stress the importance of brining genuine quality in the squad this summer.

I am not going to give up much time to talk of a Chinese takeover until the new owners are parading through Stowell Street on an open top bus.

Instead, here is my idea of what Newcastle United’s summer signings could be, as well as who Rafa Benitez is most likely to keep.

Goalkeeper

Newcastle have an abundance of options in this department with no less than five goalkeepers who have some sort of shout for the no.1 jersey. I expect both Rob Elliott and Karl Darlow to be here at the start of the season. Matz Sels will probably be sent on loan to play football.

The difficult decisions lie with Tim Krul and Freddie Woodman.

We all know Krul is a keeper good enough for the Premier League, so it shouldn’t be a surprise if he starts next season as the number one. On the other hand, it shouldn’t be a surprise if he is the first one sold this summer. You just never know with Rafa, so watch this space.

Freddie Woodman has performed admirably at Kilmarnock and raised his reputation at the under 20 world cup, I expect him to go out on loan to a Championship side much like Forster and Krul in the past. Talk of him being no.1 by the Chronicle can only be described as ‘laughable clickbait’.

With no certain number 1 goalkeeper at the moment, I think a goalkeeper will be on Rafa’s shopping list this summer, as long as they are good enough.

I don’t believe any truth in the rumours which claimed that Jordan Pickford was wanted by Newcastle. This is especially so, given the fact that the original source of this rumour came from The Sun. Even if it was true, he wouldn’t come anyway.

UK Summer Targets: Eldin Jakupovic (Hull City) Joe Hart (Arsenal) Willy Caballero (Free Agent)

Other Targets: Pepe Reina (Napoli), Victor Valdes (Free Agent), Andre Onana (Ajax)

Right-Back

Yedlin will definitely stay and Vurnon Anita will leave on a free transfer. This means that a space will be open at right-back. I can’t see Rafa placing his trust in Kevin Mbabu, which means he is likely to venture into the transfer market for a right-back.

Could Jamie Sterry be given a chance? I doubt it, he didn’t impress enough at Coventry and sadly I don’t think he is good enough (but I hope he will prove me wrong).

UK Summer Targets: Bacary Sagna (Free Agent), Phil Jones (Man United) Kieran Tripper (Spurs)

Other Targets: Stephan Litchsteiner (Juventus), Florian Klein (Stuttgart)

Left-Back

I am sure that Paul Dummett will stay at the club and he deserves a chance to fight for his place next year. Lazaar will likely go out on loan in my opinion, he has been a poor buy and has not looked up to it in the very few games he has played. Massaidio Haidara will also leave the club.

newcastle united

Again, with no other left-back at the club, you would except Rafa to sign one. Ideally, to save money, we could do with a versatile full-back…Davide Santon anyone?

UK Summer Targets: Kieran Tierney (Celtic), Aaron Cresswell (West Ham)

Other Targets: Jonas Hector (Koln), Davide Santon (Inter Milan)

Centre-Back

Newcastle started this season incredibly strong in the centre-back department and they ended it strongly too.

This was Rafa’s best decision in the summer, bulking up the squad with Hanley, Clark, Lascelles and Mbemba. It has been our most consistent position this past season, and it goes to show with the fact that at no point this season has a player who is not a centre-back actually played in the middle.

I think it is safe to say that Rafa will want four centre-halves again but you would imagine that at least one of Grant Hanley and Chancel Mbemba will leave in the summer. Talk of Florian Lejeune did appear to be close but that talk, much like Tammy Abraham, has gone very quiet very quickly.

UK Summer Targets: Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough), Callum Chambers (Arsenal), Michael Keane (Burnley), Tim Klose (Norwich)

Other Targets: Inigo Martinez (Real Sociedad), Janik Vestergaard (Bremen), Florian Lejeune (Eibar)

Centre Midfield

The need for another Jonjo Shelvey, to play alongside Jonjo Shelvey, is plain to see.

newcastle united

I have no doubt that Isaac Hayden has the potential to be a good Premier League player one day, however, he cannot be relied on week in, week out next season.

I also expect Jack Colback to stay at Newcastle, even if it is as a squad player. Away from home, Colback might have a big role to play in some big games next season, so don’t write him off just yet.

UK Summer Targets: Fabian Delph (Manchester City), James McCarthy (Everton), Tom Cairney (Fulham), Ruben Loftus Cheek (Chelsea).

Other Targets: William Carvalho (Sporting), Vincent Marchetti (Nancy), Maxime Gonalons (Lyon)

Wingers

Matt Ritchie has been one of our most consistent performers this season and so he will be one of the players that will earn a place in this coming season’s starting eleven. On the other side I still feel like Yoan Gouffran is likely to leave, despite talks of a new contract.

UK Summer Targets: Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace), James McClean (WBA)

Other Targets:

Number 10

For me, Ayoze Perez and Mo Diame have been the two biggest let downs this season. Especially at home, our lack of creativity is where we have come up short against sides who seemed intent on parking the bus.

If we are to improve at home next season, a player who can unlock defences will be key.

UK Summer Targets: Gylfi Sigurddson (Swansea), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Josh King (Bournemouth), Aaron Mooy (Manchester City)

Other Targets: Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo), Ante Coric (Dinamo Zagreb)

Striker

Dwight Gayle will obviously stay at the club and I expect Daryl Murphy to be kept on for the last year of his contract as a bit-part player.

Obviously most of the talk will be about Aleksandar Mitrovic, who I think deserves one last chance to find his shooting boots. However, I think that he will leave in the summer. Although I can’t see anyone forking out the £12million+ we paid for him two seasons ago, which means he is likely to go out on loan.

As for Adam Armstrong, he hasn’t exactly shone at Barnsley this past season and I can’t see Rafa relying on him in the Premier League. I expect him to go out on loan, or it wouldn’t surprise me if a Championship team needing a centre forward stumped up £5m/£6m.

I personally hope we don’t sign Tammy Abraham. He has played one season in professional football for Bristol City, although he did score 23 league goals last season, so did Dwight Gayle, Chris Wood and Glenn Murray, and we know that they aren’t world beaters. I just don’t see him as being a good signing… but Rafa obviously knows best.

UK Summer Targets: Moussa Dembele (Celtic), Andy Carroll (West Ham), Andre Gray (Burnley).

Other Targets: Kevin Gameiro (A.Madrid), Santi Mina (Valencia), Paco Alcacer (Barcelona).

You can follow the author on Twitter @JonathanComyn

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])



  • Toon fan

    Goalie (maybe?), RB, LB, CB, DM, AM, Winger, 1 or 2 striker’s. 7 to 9 players needed.

    • Jonathan Drape-Comyn

      Can you really see Rafa bringing in more than 6 players for a second summer in a row? I can’t see him doing it, or MA allowing it.

  • SH.ER

    Krul is NOT a Premier League quality & i think most agree, sell him & use the money
    just look what Alkmaar fans talking about him & his poor performances man !!!
    get the real picture there
    & when you put
    Agree with selling Lazzar & Haidara but for me Dummy will only warm the bench
    because we need to get a better left back, while Yedlin on the other hand is good for me & we might do with the young lads as back up
    & the rest? everyone knows we need a first team starters in CM ( Hayden will be a back up & Colbck will only play if Hayden is Injured )
    So a CM with Shelvey & a new CAM in front of them & a new proven striker

    • Jonathan Drape-Comyn

      Perhaps the club not announcing Gouffran leaving suggests that there aren’t as much funds as we think!!

      • HarryHype59

        There aren’t enough funds! The second relegation under this regime has lost the club around 70m in TV money. Carr and Charnley have compounded the problem by offering high wages and long term contracts to players Rafa wants to shift.

        In fact the club will struggle to cover the operating costs which were 96m in the 2015-16 accounts. Unless Ashley attracts new outside investors, next season will be a long hard slog. Rafa will be working on a very tight budget.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    when i read that Gouffran was in for an extension the alarm bells started ringing that loud i nearly did a Quasimodo
    I smell a Rat, no bids not even a hint of an offer & we need at least 4 class players
    the Bells, the Bells

    • Clarko

      More negativity.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        more of the truth, wake up & smell the coffee

        • Clarko

          I smell the s***e, coming from you, you’re full of it.

          • Geordiegiants

            Have ever read your comments back?

          • Clarko

            Have you ever been able to counter one of my comments?

          • Geordiegiants

            Again, impossible!

          • HarryHype59

            Clarko….you seem to have anger management issues lad! Disagreeing with people doesn’t need to descend to personal abuse. BTW where is the 70m you said we had for new players? I await a calm civil response based on actual evidence.

          • Clarko

            You have provided zero evidence to any of your arguments, if you want to discuss this “£70m” find the original comment and reply there.

          • HarryHype59

            Clarko you claimed the 41m parachute money and the 30m profit on players would be spent on players. You got a tad upset when I suggested the 70m would have to go towards the operating costs of the club, which were 96m in 2016.

            My argument is that the NUFC cupboard is bare due to losing out on the bumper TV deals.

            Unless Ashley attracts investment, Rafa will be shopping in the bargain basement.

          • Clarko

            The argument was finished.

            Mike Ashley stated, “I’ve confirmed to Rafa Benitez he can have every last penny the club generates through promotion, player sales & other means”, Newcastle generated £41m through parachute payments, £30m through player sales, there is also sponsorship money and whatever Newcastle produce this summer. That equates to £70m+, that is firsthand information.

      • HarryHype59

        Or realism. Like many on here, I have been underwhelmed by the alleged targets. They look like Carr scouted players following the failed blue print.

        • Damon Horner

          What kind of targets did you expect? Seems to be a belief that if somebody isn’t a household name they’re no good.

          • HarryHype59

            I thought we were having a ‘Rafulution’ and there was 100m available for players? No doubt there are some good unknown players, but under this regime they tend not to end up at Newcastle. We get dross who end up being loaned out.

          • Damon Horner

            do you think the “Rafalution” is lavishly spending on English players and achieving unprecedented success? relatively speaking. Maybe you are naive.

          • HarryHype59

            Every other club in the EPL except NUFC, Brighton and Huddersfield are spending big in order to maintain their EPL place. Everton have just spent up to 31m on Pickford.

            If you think having a punt on bargain basement journeymen from France is part of a ‘Rafalution’ then it is you who are naive.

          • Damon Horner

            Must have missed us signing these French based players with Rafa in charge. We have to be realistic when it comes to budget, 6 teams spent less than the value of Pickford this time last year and most spent less than £50mil.

            Personally feel anything other than backing Rafa is counter-productive.

          • HarryHype59

            The players we are linked with indicate the Rafalution has stalled as most look ‘Carresque’. Let’s hope it is all media nonsense and Rafa is doing the player recruitment.

          • Damon Horner

            plenty of reasons why transfer links make papers, some are down to good investigative journalism, some is poor investigative journalism, sometimes a club or agent want to drum up interest in a player for selfish agendas and sometimes it just fills a space in the paper, generally most clubs follow a specific transfer strategy and ours has been those players who are “Carresque” of late , links of that nature is inevitable and not always indicative of how the club plan to proceed.

            Don’t get me wrong, there will be some Carr recommendations in among our signings but the problem is not that these players exist because some great players have fit the profile, notably Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne at one point, it’s more that we tend to care little of their integration, know of their inevitable departure, don’t plan for said departure and struggle when it happens and lack the ambition to match that of the player means the motivation and decisions end up being much easier for the players, hopefully with Rafa that last bit collectively might have changed.

            It might be naive but the choice is have that hope/belief or prepare for a long term mundane footballing existence. I’d rather the former.

        • Clarko

          What do you mean “they look like Carr scouted players”, he is our head scout you moron.

          • HarryHype59

            Clarko, not only are you not very bright, but you are also rather rude! Keep it civil lad. I had naively thought that the Rafalution meant Rafa bringing in his own players, using his network and connections from previous clubs.

            Judging from the list of targets mentioned so far, the failed Carr blue print is still being used. This club needs proven quality players if it is to survive , not bargain basement ‘punts’ and unproven youngsters from weak leagues.

            Carr is still head scout and that worries me. Benitez will struggle moving on several of his flops, due to high wages and long contracts. As the ‘Rafalution’ is obviously self funded this means we are rooting about in the bargain bin again. Carr should have been removed last year.

          • Clarko

            Part 2:
            What is this “failed blueprint” you keep mentioning? It is the vocal point to your argument yet you have not explained nor gave an example of this “failed blueprint”. I am going to assume it is Newcastle’s previous policy of signing foreign (Ligue 1/French) players no older than 26? The policy that has yielded players such as Cabaye, Debuchy, Sissoko, Ben Arfa and Remy, if you ignore the region of disscussion you can include players such as Wijnaldum, Tiote, Janmaat, Ba and Perez, those players do not imply a “failed blueprint” to me. To clarify I am not suggesting Newcastle have had a 100% success rate under Carr but I would challenge you to find a scout, manager or club who have a 100% success rate when it comes to transfers. It is also worth to note that the final goal of this “blueprint” was to be able to sell assets at a profit, which I would argue, it has succeeded at.

            You again mention “flops” without giving a name(s), who are they?

          • Damon Horner

            it’s not the worst business model. We just need to do it in a way where we don’t handicap ourselves like sell our only capable goalscorer etc.

            I have more faith with Rafa in place that this would be the case (I might be the naive one!) and we’d function without our star performers if it helped us get to the top, it’s that bit where the profit making feels redundant to a fan.

          • HarryHype59

            Clarko, the blue print was one of the reasons the club got relegated again. I suggest you take some some time contemplating that fact. Think about it man! Clubs with successful recruitment policies don’t get relegated you obnoxious fellow!

            The club have been perennial EPL strugglers under the blue print for all but one season.

            The key problem with it is better players use NUFC as a platform to a ‘bigger club’. Poor ones remain on the books contributing very little, De Jong, Saivet, Riviere. They are also sold at a loss e.g. Cabella and Thauvin.

          • Clarko

            “The blueprint was one of the reasons”, but not the only reason, right? Lets explore the other reasons, McClaren, lack of investment and player mentality, if Benitez was at the club at the start of that campaign do you think Newcastle would have still been relegated? I don’t.

            Again you speak of “successful recruitment policies”, I will refer you to my previous comment of finding a scout, manager or club who has a 100% transfer success rate.

            Sissoko was bought for £1.70m and sold for £29.75m
            Cabaye was bought for £4.25m and sold for £21.25m
            Debuchy was bought for £5.27m and sold for £12.75m
            Wijnaldum was bought for £17.00m and sold for £23.38m
            Janmaat was bought for £5.10m and sold for £7.57m

            The profit and successes outweigh the losses.

          • grantham mag

            Equals relegation.

          • Clarko

            Pointless comment from a pointless profile.

          • HarryHype59

            Why are you so rude and aggressive to anyone who dares disagree with you? The whole point of the Mag is for fans to discuss issues and give opinions. You are coming across like some demented Kim Jong wannabe! Get over your self!

          • Clarko

            He did not attempt to discuss anything did he? His opinion (like yours) is uninformed. It was pointless.

          • HarryHype59

            Your arrogance is matched only by your ignorance! You laughably claim to possess a higher level of understanding, yet fail to grasp the impact of key facts. BTW, Thauvin was a totally sh**te signing.

          • Clarko

            I have proven my “higher level of understanding” through my arguments that you have yet to disprove. You have not brought up any “key facts”, I have, the player statistics, the transfer fees and finances that provide evidence to support my arguments, this compared to your argument, which in its entirety, consists of “Thauvin was a totally sh**te signing”.

          • HarryHype59

            You may have the raw data but you fail to analyse it, or understand the context correctly. I had hoped another relegation would make you regime apologists finally grasp how badly this team has been run. Alas your misguided arrogance blinds you to reality.

            You are so out of touch with the fan consensus , I wonder if you are even a real supporter. Your aggressive nature on this forum makes be wonder if you are no more than a Mackem wind up merchant.

            Don’t bother composing yet another reality denying post, as I am bored by your postings.

          • Clarko

            So according to you I “have the raw data” but “fail to analyse it, or understand the context correctly”. Let me ask you this, if my analysis is missing why haven’t you brought it up during an actual discussion? Why haven’t you provided any data? If I have the context wrong then why have you never corrected me? I can tell you why, because it is all fabricated. Again you haven’t included any evidence, examples or reasoning to support this nonsense.

            You go on to talk about “fan consensus”, I am wrong because I disagree with what you think the “fan consensus” is, are you the designated “fan consensus” communicator? Do you speak on the behalf of every Newcastle fan? Do you know how every Newcastle fan feels/thinks? I highly doubt it.

            I would love to be a part of your “reality”, life would be so much simpler and basic. Unfortunately I am not “blessed” with that sort of stupidity.

          • HarryHype59

            I have provided numerous sources and statistical facts but you refuse you accept them.

          • Clarko

            Can you quote me somewhere on this page where you have used a “statistic” or “source” please?

          • grantham mag

            Please a accept my humble appoligies for not agreeing with your opinions. Explain pointless profile. I take it the name Clarko was given to you in the Infants school and you are still in short pants, you really need to take some chill pills sonny boy.
            The transfer policy in my humble opinion is the main reason we were relegated.

          • Clarko

            “Explain pointless profile?”, the 25 comments you have made are all pointless, they’re not witty, funny, insightful or informative. You’re a pointless profile.

            You again state that “the transfer policy” was “the main reason we were relegated”, and again you don’t give any explanation as to why, more nothingness.

            I feel the need to quote the following, “take some chill pills sonny boy”, read that back again, you said that. Some advice, when your IQ hits 28, sell.

          • HarryHype59

            Equals loss of £100m TV money!

          • Clarko

            Part 1:
            “Juvenile” and “not very bright”, coming from someone who believes our head scout doesn’t scout our transfer targets, laughable. You were not “naive”, you were, and still are, stupid.

            You talk about the “targets mentioned” in the press, have these “targets” signed yet? Have we even bid for these “targets”? Are you even sure these are “targets”?

    • Geordiegiants

      MMM the window doesn’t open until July. This exact same scenario played out on here last year, and look at what happened. Chill yi knickas and see what happens.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        there`s been 15 players already signed pre contracts in the premiership by tomorrow it`ll be 16. it was Rafa who stated i want early buys & the players to be at Nufc by 3 July
        Rafa not me

  • Rich Lawson

    They kept Joe Hart going to Arsenal quiet then ?

    • Jonathan Drape-Comyn

      sorry… I had originally typed out David Ospina (from Arsenal) as an option!

      • Rich Lawson

        Don’t worry bout it mate,gave me a good laugh.

  • Paul Patterson

    Where to start..
    Phil Jones? Andy Carroll? Kieran Tripper?
    Krul as number 1? Santon coming back?
    Can’t see them happening..

  • Steve Smith

    Apparently Giroud could be picked up for around 18m. He’s got to be a an improvement on Murphy and Mitrovic, and is less Crocked than Carrol.

  • Kazie

    Players to leave…
    Woodman(loaned out), Selz, Hanley, Sterry(loaned out), Lazaar, Haidarra, Diame, Saviet, Rivierre, Arma(loaned out), Mitrovic, Murphy, Toney(Loaned out).
    Players to buy…
    Harry Maguire, Andrew Robertson, James McCarthy/Fabian Delph, Jota from Brentford as I don’t see us getting Siggurdson in, Patrick Roberts, Paco from Barca/ Dembele from Celtic but that will be really hard to get.