Newcastle United somehow crawled to 40 Premier League goals last season, just enough to fight off relegation by the time we arrived at the final day of the season.
Between them, Papiss Cisse and Ayoze Perez contributed almost half of that goals total, despite Cisse only starting 11 league matches and Perez being ‘one for the future’.
Newcastle got lucky.
Having seen goalscorers such as Ba, Cabaye, Remy and Ben Arfa pass through the club and off to pastures new, the attempts to replace those goals had been disastrous.
Remy Cabella, Emmanuel Riviere, Siem de Jong and Facundo Ferreyra were brought in last summer in order to bring goals to Newcastle, with as I say above, no expectation that Perez would deliver instantly.
Between those four, they supplied three Premier League goals, Ferreyra not even stepping onto the pitch.
The goals problem is further exasperated by Newcastle United’s year on year habit of accumulating midfielders/wingers who don’t score goals, at least not for United they generally don’t.
On the books at the minute there are Obertan, Sissoko, Colback, Marveaux, Gouffran and Anita – none of them looking natural goalscorers in black and white.
No wonder even Mike Ashley realised that drastic action was needed and he allowed the money to be spent on a whole new attack for NUFC, three players who could supply the missing goals.
Florian Thauvin, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Georginio Wijnaldum scored 51 club goals between them last season (all competitions) and 129 over the course of the last three years.
The three of them pretty much scoring as many goals as Newcastle’s entire squad, albeit in weaker leagues.
If you look at how Steve McClaren clearly wants to set his team up, the only change at the back is Chancel Mbemba.
Then in front of the defence he has two existing players in Colback and Anita, then Moussa Sissoko to support the three new attacking signings.
Papiss Cisse definitely doesn’t look to have a role in any new formation and remains only as a reserve in case of injury or suspension…
Relying on a whole new front three to instantly deliver was always going to be tough, though this was made even more so by the non-existent pre season they had together this summer.
Mitrovic came in just before the new season, whilst Thauvin arrived after the Premier League campaign had kicked off.
I think that injuries/suspensions permitting, Steve McClaren has to just keep his head down and give the three of them as much game time together as possible. Possibly even including Cup matches as well, to get his first eleven progressing as quickly as possible.
Even if the team aren’t picking up many wins in the next month or two, the trio of signings have to be given the time and space to grow together.
Late October/early November would be my guess as to when we could see tangible returns from the summer investment.
In the meantime, naturally you hope that we will see a growing improvement in the attacking play and the goals on the end of that, before eventually all three are fully integrated and Newcastle are getting the maximum return from the trio.
Undoubtedly, the three of them would be far further along the journey if they’d worked together in pre season friendlies and training but that has now gone.
Sometimes you have to accept that things are going to get worse before they get better but it is time to grit the teeth.
These are better players than the likes of Cabella and Riviere, with Mitrovic, Thauvin and Wijnaldum needing the full confidence of both Steve McClaren and the supporters, as well as their new teammates.
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