I think it is fair to say that by the time the season ended, Rafa Benitez will have decided what he wants to do with the various Newcastle players.
The United boss will have his list of those who he definitely wants to keep, as well as the Newcastle players who have no future at the club.
In a bit of blurred area there will also be a limited group of players who Rafa will sell if he gets offers for but if they stay, he won’t be too upset to have them as squad members next season.
The transfer speculation season is in full flow, Newcastle linked with probably around 100 different ‘targets’ by now, less than three weeks after the Championship campaign ended.
Making sense of where the truth (if any) may lie with the media claims, is about on the same difficulty level as herding cats, but what about those that are staying?
The post-season has also seen the new home strip launched and very nice it looks too, despite predictably the best efforts of the new sponsor’s logo attempts to spoil it.
Interesting to see just who the club chose to help promote the new strip.
I guess nothing is set in stone but surely those players featuring in the adverts and promotion of the new strip must be knocking bets to form a core of the team/squad in the Premier League?
The club included four stars of the past to help promote the 2017/18 home shirt: Supermac, Bobby Moncur, Frank Clark, and Peter Beardsley, all pulling on the black and white stripes once again.
By my reckoning, there were also eight current players involved in the promotional video and images.
Appearing were: Ciaran Clark, Jamaal Lascelles, Ayoze Perez, Paul Dummett, Jonjo Shelvey, DeAndre Yedlin, Isaac Hayden, and Dwight Gayle.
Of those eight, I think most were safe bets to feature next season but Ayoze Perez was a possible candidate to leave, whilst always a chance Rafa is going to buy a new left-back and leave Paul Dummett in a quandary as to whether happy to be a squad player.
Maybe of most interest are those who weren’t included in the group modelling the new strip…
Despite a lack of games, Aleksandar Mitrovic continues to be very popular with many fans, he would have been a natural to be included but wasn’t included.
No goalkeepers were used in promoting the new strip, despite the new keeper’s shirt available to pre-order along with the outfield strip. Maybe an indication that Rafa is yet to conclude his goalkeeping business/decisions for next season.
Other players such as Colback, Mbemba, Gouffran, Anita, Muprhy, Gamez, Lazaar, Diame, Hanley and Haidara, must all be likely leavers.
Christian Atsu has now signed on permanently since the strip promotion, whilst surely Matt Ritchie will be here next season and may have been unavailable.
Looking back on recent seasons is interesting, when you see which players were used.
In 2014/15, amongst those who promoted the strips were Emmanuel Riviere, Jack Colback, Siem de Jong and Remy Cabella – that went well!
Then last season, 2015/16, the likes of Fabricio Coloccini, Massadio Haidara, Tim Krul, Ayoze Perez and Jack Colback featured, once again some interesting choices…
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