One down for Newcastle United, four to go.

Great to see exciting attacking midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum rocking up at St James Park.

(To feature like Jane, send in your articles for our website to [email protected] – all views those of the author etc etc)

The cheque book has been found, or Lee Charnley discovered Mike Ashley’s internet banking details, but either way Newcastle have their first very good signing of the summer.

The question now is, we have had our expectation raised (to what should be the kind of level of Newcastle’s ambitions), so who is in next?

I looked at the squad who flew out to America on Sunday, as well as those left behind due to ‘injury’ (or looking for new clubs…?), and came up with the following 14 players I would be happy/reasonably comfortable with starting the season.

However, that still leaves four players to find…:

First Eleven:

Tim Krul

Daryl Janmaat

Fabricio Coloccini

Moussa Sissoko

Jack Colback

Georginio Wijnaldum

Siem de Jong

Papiss Cisse


Karl Darlow

Jamaal Lascelles

Paul Dummett

Ayoze Perez

Rolando Aarons

Cheick Tiote

I think the above represents a fair reflection of where we are at.

Of course we all know that Ayoze Perez can play in the first team but surely it is essential that Newcastle sign a very good striker (two if Cisse leaves) so that expectations aren’t too much on Perez’ young shoulders for his difficult second season.

The main point of course is that Newcastle just have to raise the quality of the team and the squad, hoping that many of our current players will suddenly start to look Premier League standard is false economy.

In my list I’m taking on trust that Lascelles and Darlow will prove to be at least squad material in their first season, whilst Cheick Tiote of course could bounce back to be a first team regular, though you can’t count on that.

A bit the same with Coloccini and Krul, who like Tiote have never again reached the heights of 2011/12 on a regular basis, though their loss of form and injury record hasn’t been as dramatic as Tiote’s.

Colback, Cisse and Janmaat were easily three of Newcastle’s best performers last season alongside Ayoze Perez, whilst Siem de Jong will fingers crossed stay injury free.

newcastle united

I think at least two defenders, a striker and a winger/wide midfielder who can create and score goals are a minimum United need.

Wijnaldum shows the standard United need to aim for and four more like him will do just nicely.

Bit of a shame signing a player like the exciting PSV midfielder, if he then ends up playing alongside Williamson, Obertan, Riviere, Anita, Steven Taylor and others who aren’t of the level required.

Saying that Newcastle need to sign more quality players DOES NOT equal failing to get behind the team, it is simply backing Steve McClaren in the fact that he deserves to get proper players in who can do the job, not be left with those who we all know aren’t up to it.

Signing somebody like Aleksandar Mitrovic or Charlie Austin would be a great start and anybody who claims we’d still be ok with Emmanuel Riviere if no other striker came in, is clutching at really thin straws.

  • Jievo

    For me it would break down as follows:

    Key Players:
    – Tim Krul – wasn’t going to list him as a key player but we all know that with the right coaching Tim is one of the best in the league on his day.

    – Sissoko – Not sure I see him staying but we need him, I agree with McClaren’s apparent intent to push him up to one of 3 attacking midfielders behind a striker, think he’ll do well there.
    – Colback – No ifs, no buts, for me the lad needs a starting space and the armband. Let him take charge and show the rest what Newcastle United is all about.
    – Perez – Whether he plays up top or in an attacking 3 behind the forward we know to expect the unexpected with Perez.
    – Janmaat – First name of the team sheet, surely?
    – Wijnaldum

    Keep (Starters):
    – Cisse – We all know when he hits a patch of form we’ll want him at the club, we need a new first choice but Cisse has earned a chance to compete.
    – De Jong – Hopefully will become a key player this season, glad he likes the new coach.
    – Aarons – Nobody will be arguing we want to see what he can do with a year of fitness.
    – Haidara – Cracking little player, hearing good things from his first game of pre season and he needs a chance to get a run of games without interruption from Dummett.
    – Dummett – For me our current first choice at centre back, I really want to see him and Lascelles competing for a starting space playing next to a big new signing.

    Keep (Reserve):
    – Williamson – I know most are gonna want to hang me for this but the lad’s loyal, his build can be useful and he has come good for us in the past. There are worse players to have at 4th or 5th choice. If he’s in our first XI though… 
    – Anita – Wanted to file under Sell, but for the dutch connection and his ability to provide fullback and CM backup I’d keep him, but don’t want to see him playing unless he doubles in upper body size.

    – Vuckic – 6 month ago I’d have been saying sell sell sell, but if McClaren decides to give him a chance then we could have worse players in reserve. But it really is last chance saloon for Haris.
    – Taylor – he’s a liability and a fool but he has talent hiding somewhere in there, everybody’s demanding sales of players like Taylor but they’d be the first to be wailing about lack of cover when we end up starting 16 year olds.
    – Darlow – Actually competition for Krul at last.

    – Woodman – Think he can claim third choice at GK this year, and hopefully build from there.

    – Good – Never seen him play so shan’t judge, I see no reason to ship him off just yet though.

    – Abeid – I’m enthusiastic about the lads chances but he needs to come good soon. Not half bad for cover though.
    – Armstrong – Overhyped massively but might as well let him keep developing here, either he breaks through or we make a tidy profit on him in a year or 2.
    – Lascelles – I’m optimistic, read the above re Dummett.

    – Cabella – Won’t be weeping if he goes, but if he comes good he could be an amazing addition to the team.

    Get rid of:
    – Coloccini – Just don’t have any trust left in the lad, physically still able but his mind has been elsewhere for so long, and we need to turn over a new page at centre half under McClaren.
    – Gouffran – I actually like the lad and see his value as depth up front but his relationship with the fans is just too far gone I feel.
    – Elliot – Times up, he’s a Pardew man and Darlow is ready to compete with Krul.
    – Tiote – We’ve got options in the centre of the park, I wouldn’t choose Tiote over Gini, JC, Sissoko or Abeid, and unlike Anita he can’t cover multiple positions. Time to cash in.
    – Obertan – Need I say more?
    – Riviere – Ditto.
    – Satka
    – Bigirimana – Sorry to say this, a few years ago I thought he was our future in the centre of the park but he’s now dead weight.
    – Ferguson – He’s not coming good, not for Birmingham, not for Rangers, not for us.
    – Marveaux – Not good enough, he’ll be happier back in France playing every week.

    Obviously the above shows that we do need reinforcements to be anywhere near our top half objectives, but the current team well coached should be safe from relegation. We have an over abundance of attacking midfielders – a good thing, that’s competition and will improve all of them – but as we’ve all been saying for years, centre half and striker need reinforcements. On a position by position basis I’d be happy to see:

  • PeterS84

    I still cant believe people put Colo in as a starter, take the £2 million palace are reportedly offering and get him out of Newcastle ASAP.

  • Hughie

    Wishful thinking Jane. In reality Haidara or Dummett wil be left back. Cabella will be there if still around, Obertan, Good, Anita and Williamson will be subs at least.  As it stands in 4-2-3-1 — Krul, Janmaat, Collo, Taylor, Dummett, Tiote,  Colback, Sissoko,Wijnaldum, De Jong, Cisse. Subs Elliot, Anita, Good, Lascelles, Perez, Aarons, Obertan or Riviere.
    This is in the belief that no-one else comes in (likely), and that Cabella, Obertan, Elliot, Sissoko,, Willo are not sold as many wish …..

  • wor monga

    A fair reflection of where we’re at, Jane!!! …how do you make that
    out then?…when the lad Ayoze shows that he’s an absolute pure gem, who’s
    shone out like a beacon, and can demonstrate the kind of skills that are a stand out…in
    a season of utter mediocrity like we have just witnessed, and you in your
    almighty wisdom consign him to the benches…for next season!!

    …A position has to be found for him…not up as a lone striker
    again, but I doubt very much he will be sat on the bench at all…with Maclaren,
    and Cathro…he will be playing for certain whoever comes in!!!

  • Andgeo

    If we don’t get a decent central defender or two in, it will just be a few weeks until the rot has set back in.

  • Ram_CMF

    not quite sure what basis this article has..ayoze will be in the first team, maybe even aarons.  SMC likes youngsters and they don’t get much better than rolando aarons, plus many would argue that Anita will have a huge role to play this season.  Hope Williamson goes

  • XerxesVargas

    That bench is as thin as Ashley’s ambition. I’m all for making the best of a bad job but let’s call it what it is. A couple of injuries and we’re up the creek without a boat or a paddle.

  • stepaylor

    Riviere i think is better than he has shown but i agree we need him to be a bench player. Perez i think is a very talented player but we need someone domineering to lead the line the way an Andy Carroll type does. I think Charlie Austin would be perfect. Diamond midfield with Tiote/Colback holding roll. Wijnaldum and Sissoko box to box with De Jong at the head of the diamond. Perez just behind Charlie Austin would make me happy.

  • 1957

    I notice today McClaren has said if players don’t buy into what he wants to do they will be “…flying out of the window…” and inferred the club will be getting better quality players. McClaren being on the board gives these statements more credibility for me, he can’t claim at a later date he didn’t know what was happening.
    Some of the players considered deadwood by supporters will with some coaching input, they didnt have any before, improve enough to be decent squad players and the rest will go eventually