With a price agreed for Gini Wijnaldum, Newcastle have now lost three of their top five goalscorers from last season.
Between them: Wijnaldum, Townsend and Cisse scored 18 Premier League goals, a stat which looks even more impressive when you consider they only started 62 PL matches between them.
Last season United scored 44 goals in total, which included one own goal, so taking into account Coloccini’s departure and likely exits from Sissoko and Janmaat, we are talking about players having left who contributed a majority of the goals scored by Newcastle players.
Premier League goalscorers for Newacstle 2015/16
9 Aleksandar Mitrovic
6 Ayoze Perez
3 Papiss Cisse
2 Daryl Janmaat & Jamaal Lascelles
1 Coloccini, Dummett, Aarons, Colback, Sissoko, Anita, own goal
None of those departures come as the biggest surprises but it does then pose the question as to, who is going to score the goals to get Newcastle out of the Championship.
If we look back to the last second tier campaign, Newcastle scored 90 goals and went up as champions.
2009/10 Newcastle United Championship scorers:
17 Andy Carroll
17 Kevin Nolan
13 Peter Lovenkrands
10 Shola Ameobi
5 Marlon Harewood
4 Jonas Gutierrez, Ryan Taylor, Danny Guthrie
3 Wayne Routledge
2 Fabricio Coloccini, Nile Ranger
1 Steven Taylor, Joey Barton, Jose Enrique, Fabrice Pancrate, Danny Simpson, Damien Duff
3 Own Goals
Looking at last season’s Championship, the three promoted teams were Burnley (72 goals), Middlesbrough (63 goals) and Hull (69 goals) – though Boro’s relatively low total was combined with the best defensive record (31 conceded) to give them an automatic promotion place.
Brighton finished third (72 goals) but lost out in the play-offs, whilst the other three to finish top six scored at least 66 goals.
Taking that as a guide, I think Newcastle will need at the very least 70 goals to get automatic promotion – so could the current squad provide them?
Ritchie and Gayle are a great start but the other three (soon to be four with Grant Hanley) are unlikely to provide many.
Looking back at that last promotion team squad, a few things stick out.
One is the number of different scorers – 20 including the three own goals.
Whilst the breakdown of positions also makes interesting reading.
47 goals – Strikers (Harewood, Carroll, Lovenkrands, Ameobi, Ranger)
9 goals – Wingers (Pancrate, Routledge, Jonas, Duff)
26 goals – Midfielders (Nolan, Guthrie, Ryan Taylor, Barton)
5 goals – Defenders (Coloccini, Steven Taylor, Enrique, Simpson)
Looking at our current set of players and assuming that Sissoko will be off, plus Wijnaldum completes his move to Liverpool, I struggle to see our current set of players getting anywhere near that 90 goal total, plus I personally think you couldn’t take for granted that without additions they would automatically get up around that 70 goal mark that seems to be a starting point if you want promotion.
Defence – you would have to expect our current lot to score more than the 5 goals back in 2009/10, especially now that there has been a realisation that you are allowed to score from a corner, with a plan to go with that.
Wingers – Matt Ritchie alone should guarantee that the 9 goals is easily exceeded.
With Rolando Aarons you would hope he will now make rapid progress and stay injury free, whilst it appears there is even a chance of Florian Thauvin staying around. As well as creativity, there is the potential for a lot of goals as well.
Midfielders – This is possibly the weakest part of the equation, especially with Wijnaldum leaving. Kevin Nolan’s 17 goals were a big part of that promotion push and I can’t see anybody getting remotely close to that of our current players.
Shelvey should score a few but players such as Colback, Tiote, Anita and Hayden are unlikely to contribute many. In the case of Henri Saivet it is hard to see whether he will even get a game and could be moved out, though ironically he did score a decent amount when playing on the wing from, 14 goals 2012-2014, before moving inside to central midfield.
Strikers – Can our current lot get close to that 47 goals of 2009/10? Personally, I think we would need Dwight Gayle to really smash it to get close, I hope I’m proved wrong but I still can’t see Mitrovic scoring that regularly, although I do think he can help in other ways to justify his place.
Riviere is just a liability and we wait to see what Rafa Benitez does with Adam Armstrong, the young Geordie striker getting a chance last night to show Rafa what he can do and looking quite bright. Ayoze Perez showing with the late equaliser at Doncaster that he is capable of classy finishes but can he add quantity to quality?
I think we have most of the building blocks in place but I fancy Rafa Benitez must be looking to reinvest some of the Wijnaldum/Sissoko incoming funds on a couple of players who can score goals – probably another striker and a midfielder/winger.
I also anticipate that Wijnaldum and Sissoko won’t be the only two to leave as I think Rafa will be hoping to shake out a few players who have no real place in his plans.
By my reckoning we are looking for another Peter Lovenkrands and Kevin Nolan to top off the squad and add the 30 goals they brought in seven years ago – any suggestions