The up and coming Premier League season has the feeling of one of critical importance to Newcastle, in justifying the heights that the club reached last season. With this in mind, the current transfer window could prove vital. In order for Newcastle to pose a threat both domestically and in Europe next season, more quality must be brought in, the squad must be expanded, players who are not good enough or not in Pardew’s plans must be moved on, while key players currently at the club must be kept.
The first area of concern that Newcastle must address is the right-back position. With Danny Simpson looking on his way out, this leaves the club short in that area of the squad. The possible signing of Mathieu Debuchy from Lille would be a real coup and one that would immediately solve this problem. An international class full-back who impressed at Euro 2012, Debuchy would undoubtedly add quality to the squad.
Another area in which Newcastle must strengthen is the centre-half position. Last season, the long-term achilles injury that Steven Taylor sustained, exposed the fact that Newcastle are very light in this position. Coloccini and Taylor both have the quality required for a successful season, however Mike Williamson…I’m not so sure. Even so, the club needs to sign an additional centre-half regardless in order to add more competition for places and depth to the squad for next season’s gruelling Thursday/Sunday schedule that will face United on a number of occasions.
With Danny Guthrie leaving for pastures new, cover for the centre-midfield partnership of Tiote and Cabaye is now also a necessity. Last season, whenever Tiote was injured, suspended or away at the African cup of Nations, Guthrie came in and did a fantastic job. It is a shame that a player of his quality and age/potential has left the club and a replacement of similar quality ought to be brought in. The fact that Dan Gosling appears to have struggled to settle, Mehdi Abeid and HarisVuckic are inexperienced and that this season the ACN will again be taking place, makes this point all the more significant. The reported interest in players such as Vurnon Aninta, Mark Davies and Jacob Butterfield would all satisfy this position.
Lastly in terms of signings, a winger is another area where Newcastle should indeed strengthen. Towards the end of last season, the 4-3-3 system deployed by Newcastle contributed heavily to a six game winning run. Hatem Ben Arfa performed magnificently in the system on the right hand side, while a winger/left-sided forward of similar attributes to go on the left is one that Newcastle should be thinking about. Demba Ba appeared to dislike this role and Gutierrez is far too defensive for it, as a result a signing such as Junior Hoillet or Adam Johnson should be a priority in order to fulfill this role and add yet more quality and depth to Pardew’s threadbare squad.
As well as this however, there are also a number of players that Newcastle should move on in the transfer window. Xisco perhaps the most urgent example of this, as he is not in Pardew’s plans and is in the last year of his contract. As well as him though, players such as Nile Ranger and Fraser Forster should also be moved on, as they appear to have no future at the club. In addition, if Danny Simpson’s contract cannot be sorted out by the start of this season, then he too should be sold in order to bring in a fee that would not be possible for him at the end of next season. While Leon Best, although a talented player, should also perhaps be sold as not only he is now behind Cisse, Ba and Ameobi in the pecking order at St.James’ but Newcastle are also apparently in the market for another forward, with the club allegedly bidding for Luuk De Jong.
Finally, in order for the club to be a success next season, in this current transfer window they must keep hold of their key players. Tiote, Krul, Cabaye and Ba in particular, all of whom have been linked with moves away, need to be kept in order for Newcastle to retain the qualities that last season’s successful side had. In addition, Newcastle need to be adding quality and depth to their squad, not depleting it, and so keeping these talented players is of acute importance.