I know we still have an important last stretch of the season still to play out, with sixth hopefully being the very depths of our ambitions but….
…I think it is worth considering now how the summer transfer window might play out.
Newcastle United have one of the smallest playing squads in the whole of the Premier League, never mind in comparison to the clubs in the heady reaches they’ve climbed to this season.
I can’t see Mike Ashley changing that too much for next season, in terms of number of players in the squad, he will be determined to keep the wage bill down as much as possible even if we ended up in the Champions League.
I think to an extent Alan Pardew will probably want to keep the numbers from growing too much as well, only because he will have a certain level of wages that can be allocated and so the more players those wages are spread around, the more likely we are to be shopping lower down the food chain.
The obvious way to make space for new players is to weed out current players who aren’t up to the standard as we hopefully move forward.
As well as a host of kids who have already been told they won’t be kept on when their contracts run out at the end of the season, both Lovenkrands and Smith will clearly not be getting another contract.
So who else is surplus to requirements? Bearing in mind that whoever we keep is likely to definitely mean one less signing.
The players I think who are up for consideration are Williamson, Gosling, Forster, Guthrie, Harper, Ryan Taylor, Obertan, Perch, Simpson, Ranger, Best and Shola.
STILL IN TOON or GOODNIGHT?
Steve Harper – Clearly out of favour and behind even Rob Elliot, only a year left on his contract and will be on decent money so would be a bonus if we could offload. GOODNIGHT
Fraser Forster – A player who is making a habit of picking up medals when out on loan at places like Norwich and Celtic, both clubs wanting to buy him. A promising Geordie who I think should be convinced to fight it out with Krul especially if we have Europe in our sights, use some of Harper’s wages to help convince him. STILL IN TOON
Mike Williamson – Has put in a mixture of performances this season but never looks to really believe he is a Premier League player, will be on modest money and might just be worth retaining if he is fourth choice but on balance we could do much better….GOODNIGHT
Dan Gosling – A player Newcastle signed while he was still recuperating from a really bad injury, got him for nothing because of a contract slip by Everton so will be on good money. Injuries continue to play a part and Pardew doesn’t seem to fancy him when he is fit, for example playing Perch in midfield ahead of him. Maybe recent cameo appearances have in part being to put him in the shop window? GOODNIGHT
Nile Ranger – Total waste of a shirt. GOODNIGHT
Danny Guthrie – A player who for me flatters to deceive, often injured and seems to have severe stamina limitations, regularly coming off after the hour mark in matches. has got passing ability but for me has character issues and with his contract coming to an end it is….GOODNIGHT
Gabriel Obertan – A player who has certainly got pace and probably decent talent but seems to have severe confidence issues. has recently disappeared with no confirmation of any injury. I think cutting our losses might be the right way to go, not many players prosper after Old Trafford. GOODNIGHT
Danny Simpson – A player who is worth his place when playing at his max, think the club should try an dnegotiate a new contract but for me on the basis of bringing in another right back to challenge him. STILL IN TOON
James Perch – A versatile player who until recently would have been the punchline of the old joke of being able to play in any position badly! Still no world beater but showing good character and worth retaining as a squad player on what is likely to be relatively low money. STILL IN TOON
Ryan Taylor – A bit like Perch, a player who I don’t see as first team material but good to have around as a squad member…and for taking free-kicks against the mackems! STILL IN TOON
Leon Best/Shola – I think it is essential we free up another striking position so I think one of them has to go. Neither of them are first team material and can’t offer goals either, Best has only a year to run on his contract and it would be extra funds coming in, so on that basis – Leon Best GOODNIGHT / Mackem Slayer STILL IN TOON