This summer has been, and still will be, a very important one for Newcastle United.
Our return to the Premier League will obviously come with new challenges and tougher teams to face, whilst new faces in the door were eagerly anticipated ever since the final whistle blew against Barnsley. Some might say we still don’t have enough quality in our squad for the season ahead, others think otherwise and are confident of safety from relegation.
Here I will read into the transfers made so far and my judgment on them.
An easy signing to make as we always had the option after his loan from Chelsea. Personally, I think that he had a very solid season last year, showing definite glimpses of promise. Given that we are his first real home club, I really hope that he has settled here and can push on in the Premier League this season and hopefully grab a fair few goals and assists. He was criticised last year by some supporters and it will be interesting to see how important he is to Rafa’s plans this year.
This took weeks to complete and the slow progress was painful at times. Despite this, the pay structure of his reported £8.7m fee from Eibar was finally resolved in early July. He is a no-nonsense defender who I think could be really useful in this coming season. It is unknown yet who will start the season as the first choice pair at the back, with Ciaran Clark impressing last season and Jamaal Lascelles certainly not going to give up his position without a fight. We desperately need to shore up our defence, which looked woeful at times last season. I realistically see Grant Hanley and possibly Chancel Mbemba moving on this summer, freeing up a space for another defensive signing to strengthen our backline.
For me, the clear signing of the summer so far. An England U21 international with bags of promise. What really excites me about him is not only his pace and ability to find the net, but also his unhidden desire to play for the club. It is well documented that he was a childhood fan of Newcastle and I think that this will play to our advantage in a huge way, I expect performances showing the same amount of passion that we have seen from the likes of Mitrovic and Steven Taylor in recent years.
Given the amount Rafa spent on him this summer, I think that he will start the season, most likely with Ritchie on the other wing. Hopefully he can really blossom in the black and white and I can’t wait to see him tearing up Premier League defences.
A fairly low-risk signing, many greeted it with the view that he would play back up to Yedlin this coming season. I don’t think that will be the case, especially in the earlier stages of the season. He comes here with a point to prove, having not had the greatest of seasons last year with the mackems.
I have seen great glimpses of him from his times at Liverpool and Marseille and I expect him to really be up for the challenge this year. Currently he has more Premier League experience than Yedlin so it will be intriguing to see who Rafa favours come the Tottenham match in August after a long pre-season.
Yarney & O’Connor
Two young signings for the academy, both look like talented players and will definitely lift the quality in the academy, coming from Everton and Arsenal respectively. It is great to see Rafa rebuilding the club in many different areas, and it would be great in this world where signings are always costing more, to bring some great players through the youth system.
What do we need?
In my opinion: a reliable goalkeeper, quality centre midfielder and a real goalscoring striker are still needed this transfer window. If we acquire these players, I think that we will be safely mid-table. Even if we don’t capture the people who Rafa wants, I firmly believe that we can stay up given the fact that we have a really great manager and still have a squad better than some currently in the Premier league.
Who has got away?
There are a few people this summer who I really think we should have made an attempt to sign. Firstly, both Chicharito and Joe Hart moved to West Ham recently. I think that both of these players would have greatly strengthened our first team and would have been great additions. Another get away was Ruben Semedo, a great centre back who ended up signing for Villarreal this transfer window.
I feel that he would really have been a step above our centre-backs, having had the experience of playing Champions League football with Sporting Lisbon. Nevertheless, I am not going to dwell on these players as all we can do now is sign whoever we can.
Who needs to be sold?
Despite a big clear out last summer, there is still a lot of deadwood in the squad at the moment.
I definitely don’t see a big future at the club for Krul, Hanley, Saivet, and Haidara. I expect that Rafa will ship them out as soon as possible in order to make room for new signings.
It also looks like Mitrovic and Darlow will be going, with Newcastle reportedly asking for around £18m and £5m for them respectively. I like both these players and will be sad if they were to go, but ultimately it seems that these are the steps that we need to take in order to really challenge in the Premier League.
It had been reported that we need players to go before we can bring others in, so if that’s what we need to do then so be it.
Ultimately, no matter what happens in this Newcastle United transfer window, in Rafa we trust.
Thanks for reading!
Ross Harrison (Lifelong Newcastle fan. I am 13 years old and currently live in Hong Kong)
(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])