What is your ideal Newcastle team to kick off the new season in three weeks time?
It might be a wild guess but my betting is that in your ideal world that starting 11 against Southampton would feature five or more new signings, not just Georginio Wijnaldum.
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However, what about of United don’t sign anybody else…
Here is my Newcastle team to face Southampton, from the current squad:
Midfield: Sissoko, Colback, de Jong, Abeid, Cabella
Attack: Aarons, Cisse, Perez, Wijnaldum
The sharper ones amongst you might have noticed that the side is a ‘little’ front loaded.
Well no wonder when you look at the other options, especially at the back.
I think we are kidding ourselves if we think that any of our defenders are remotely close in ability to Daryl Janmaat – basically none of them are Premier League standard.
The same three centre-backs who played in the 2009/10 promotion season are still here, with all three worse than they were then, which isn’t very encouraging seen as two of them (Taylor and Williamson) were woeful even back then. Coloccini is shot through now and as we know, doesn’t want to be here either.
Dummett and Haidara have a bit of ability each, though not as in Premier League ability at full-back.
The bottom line is why on earth would you buy a player like Wijnaldum and pay £14.5m for the privilege, if you then play him with players such as Williamson and Taylor?
To make up the rest of the eleven, even to make a slightly unorthodox formation, was a tricky affair.
It involves relying on players such as Aarons, Abeid and de Jong staying fit and proving themselves in the Premier League, plus Steve McClaren sorting Remy Cabella out rather than loaning/selling him as has being rumoured.
Bottom line of course is that Newcastle desperately need to buy more decent players.
For starters they always say that great teams are built starting with a great defence.
In Newcastle’s case (only QPR conceded more last season), having a defence of any sort would be a major leap forward.