After yet another ‘interesting’ summer Rafa Benitez has now given his Newcastle United squad a final shake and settled on a 23 man senior group.

At least that is unless he can make the signings he feels are still desperately needed.

The first four friendlies saw pretty much every player given some sort of chance but the last two games have seen the United boss get serious with his preparations.

Last Wednesday the starting 11 and subs for Newcastle v Wolfsburg were:

Elliot, Manquillo, Lejeune, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey (c), Hayden, Atsu, Pérez, Mitrović

and the Subs:

Darlow, Gámez, Lascelles, Mbemba, Aarons, Colback, Merino, Murphy, De Jong, Diamé, Gayle

Then on Sunday the starting 11 and subs for Newcastle v Hellas Verona:

Elliot, Manquillo, Lejeune, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Hayden, Atsu, Pérez, Mitrović

and the Subs:

Darlow, Gámez, Lascelles, Mbemba, Aarons, De Jong, Diamé, Merino, Murphy

As you can see, the same 11 players started both games, surely the team that will take on Tottenham.

Whilst the same substitutes were all named for the two games, minus Dwight Gayle and Jack Colback.

Both players were named as subs against Wolfsburg but were the only ones not to get a game, suggesting they could be injured. That has now been confirmed on Gayle  and it looks to be a similar case with Colback, although nothing has been mentioned by the club/Rafa.

The fact that Rafa Benitez didn’t even bother adding any other players to the bench for the missing Colback and Gayle, points to the rest having no place at NUFC this coming season and the manager desperate to get them out.

Fair to say he would also like to shift others such as Mitrovic but that is not exactly possible at the minute, as he is the only available fit striker at the club.

So that means Rafa currently has these 22 players outlined above for his Newcastle United squad this coming season, plus the injured DeAndre Yedlin making 23.

You are only allowed to name 25 senior players (plus those who qualify as Under 21s) for the Premier League once the transfer window closes, so with the best hope surely of two or three more signings arriving at the most, this would take Newcastle up to that 25 player mark – none of the 23 players listed above qualify as Under 21s.

As for those who are definitely needing to find new clubs, that list for sure includes Tim Krul, Henri Saivet, Massadio Haidara, Curtis Good, Emmanuel Riviere, Achraf Lazaar and Grant Hanley.

The fact that players need to be moved out to help make way/finance new arrivals, means every day that goes by with them still at the club is a negative.

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])



  • Steve Pearce

    As I said the other day, the whole matter of football contracts and employment in general needs to be brought into the real world. If a player is “unwanted” he is simply made redundant, This would be enshrined in his contract and it would be up to him to find a new employer, Then after that was sorted out the next move would be to scrap all transfer fees. For example, when I finished my seasonal employment with Gateshead Council as a landscaper and found work with an other employer, they did not have to pay them for the privileged of employing me. This is called the real world and sadly football does not live in it!

    • Leazes Ender

      That is called Zero hours contract, as well you know you stupid Tory T**t.

      • Anita kick up the Hoop

        Embarrassing that mate, but sadly typical of left wing storm troopers these days .. preach tolerance in all things .. as long as you share the same opinions as me and Comrade Corbyn ..

        • Leazes Ender

          What are you blabbing about

          • Anita kick up the Hoop

            Just your ignorance

          • Leazes Ender

            In the name of tolerance, it is claimed the right not to tolerate the intolerant.

          • Anita kick up the Hoop

            And the “intolerant” are anyone who doesn’t agree with you.. isn’t that right Stalin

      • Steve Pearce

        Oooh – I’m not a stinking Tory, I’m only trying to open a rational discussion about how football can free itself of the crazy money-driven mess its got itself into and save clubs being dragged down by being forced into keeping unwanted players on their books. I would never suggest that zero hours contracts would be forced on anybody as that’s what that Zombie Queen Wannabe Margaret Thatcher Theresa May wants.

        • Leazes Ender

          Sorry for calling you a Tory then, totally uncalled for….. It sounded to me as if you are advocating no contracts pay per play.

          • Anita kick up the Hoop

            Marxist

    • shortydave

      best recipe for absolute carnage in the football world I’ve come across yet, you seem to have misunderstood what a contract is, presumably you would have been a touch hacked off had Gateshead Council binned you 1 week into your seasonal employment and you didn’t have other employment lined up?

    • nevfur

      May not be the accurate picture but I can see something along those lines coming.

    • Lord

      I can see where you are coming from but redundancy doesn’t work like that. To make someone redundant you have to go through all sorts of hoops but the main sticking point is to prove the job that person is in is no longer required *not* that they are not good enough. So immediately you make, say, Riviere redundant, you’d have to prove you no longer needed someone in your team to play in that position. Obviously that fails even the most basic legal test.

      So then you move into dismissal and under UK law you have to provide a fair bit of evidence to support dismissal. For a footballer, something like being convicted or failing a drugs test makes it easy for a club. ‘Not scoring enough goals’ or ‘being lazy and always injured’ may seem a simple reason for dismissal but would likely fail under a legal test because performance is more qualitative than that.

      Further, by dismissing a player, you are terminating their employment contract. By doing that, you’re losing out on any transfer fee associated with another club ‘buying’ that contract from you. Even with someone as hopeless as Riviere, there’s some value associated with his contract, so it’s always preferable to try to get something for it. Although you do sometimes see clubs buy out a contract just to get rid of a player; that just means the club are paying up their remaining salary and releasing them (I think this happened with Marveaux).

      Back to your gardener contract analogy – when you finish your seasonal employment, you’re ‘out of contract’. That’s exactly the same as a footballer getting to the end of their contract – they are eligible for a free transfer. The new club doesn’t pay anything to get their services because the previous club has no contract in place to sell. This was due to Bosman, of course, which was a good example of a situation where the footballing world had not paid attention to employment law in general.

      • Wor Lass

        Well said, m`lud!

      • Steve Pearce

        It’s an absolute pleasure to red a comment from a rational intelligent person who runs with my idea and develops and improves it without resorting to cheap sarcasm!

        Thank you.

        • Andy Mac

          Ooops soz Steve couldnt resist 😉

          • Steve Pearce

            What a good idea – replace the goal with a cow’s backside – and a smiley face isn’t sarcasm Andy1

      • Andy Mac

        “So immediately you make, say, Riviere redundant, you’d have to prove you no longer needed someone in your team to play in that position”

        But Im pretty sure we dont want someone to play in that position where trying to hit a cow’s backside is a problem ? 🤔

    • Marveauxless

      Except no player would sign a contract where they can be sacked without notice or financial remittance. You are a lot more replaceable than a top flight footballer and therefore don’t have that power when it comes to contact negotiations.
      If that’s what you really want then go and watch your local Northern League side, that world already exists at a semi – professional level

  • mentalman

    im surprised Gamez is still in the managers plans

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      there isn`t anyone else to cover Dummy

      • Marveauxless

        Lazaar, Haidara and Manquillo are all still here

        • Wor Lass

          And Clark – but none of them (or Dummy, come to think of it) is a real specialist left back. We haven`t got one at the club. As I`ve said many times, Dummy is a good lad who gives 100% and can play well in that position but he`s too easily caught on the turn and doesn`t have enough confidence going forward to establish himself as a genuine specialist LB in my opinion. He`s definitely the best we`ve got, though.

          • steve

            Dummett has played his entire career as a left back, from his loan at St Mirren right through 3 years in our first team, he’s never been a centre back in his life.

          • Wor Lass

            I know that, steve. Don`t get me wrong, I`m not knocking the lad – I like him. But, although he plays at LB, I don`t think he has what it takes nowadays to be a fully effective full back in the PL. My main concern is his lack of confidence going forward. It`s not that he can`t do it but his first instinct is to off-load the ball inside to one of the CB`s or back to the keeper. He is also often caught on the turn. However, he gives 100%, has pace on the flat, is good in the air, tackles well and – on the rare occasions that he risks a nose-bleed – he can put in a decent cross. As I already said, he`s the best we`ve got but we need proper cover for him (competition would be good for him, anyway).

          • Andy Mac

            Agreed the times he’s played at CB he looked very comfortable as I recall.

  • mactoon

    Good article. I’ve never understood how they managed to enforce this rule as by leaving them out of the 25 player squad they are effectively preventing them from being able to play in Premier League games, opening themselves to constructive dismissal claims. If successful, they could hypothetically walk away and join another club without a transfer fee and possibly claim compensation from the club to the value of their contract.

    • Damon Horner

      surely only granted by CAS due to breach of contract?

  • disqus_GFJ5SSXQ7o

    Suprise! Yet another article set up for people to whinge about transfers! How many more today?

    • Leazes Ender

      Why do you constantly whinge about people whinging?

      • disqus_GFJ5SSXQ7o

        Find it all very immature, crying about everything, everyday, the same whiny whinges. Transfer window is open until Sep 1st, save it to whine then if not happy with club instead of same gripes EVERY day * 5

        • Leazes Ender

          There you go again telling people to shut up …..you are exactly like fleckman and his brothers……

          He made me an offer that I could refuse a few months back, he said I’ll go away if you stop posting…..

          Its almost as if your little world is compromised by ideas and questions, it must be a really happy place full of little white fluffy bunny rabbits.

      • TheFatController

        Why do you constantly whinge about Ashley and Charnley yet never do anything about it?
        They’re still there today, defying you…

        • Hughie_Gallacher

          They’re still there today, not out of spite to Leazes Ender, but because of the misguided loyalty of the fans.
          Incidentally, one of the biggest whingers of the lot is Rafa; it’s just that he channels his whinging through journalists. Probably the only way he can get his message across.

        • Wor Lass

          You don`t really know whether he does anything about it or not. I stopped going to home games 4 seasons ago and I don`t buy anything from Sh*te Direct. My guess is that he`s the same. It hasn`t made any difference because close to 50,000 people want to go and support the team, anyway, and Sky pump money into the clubs. It`s frustrating because I want the team to do well but I want Ashley to go. No doubt Leazes feels the same. Maybe we`ll do well enough for someone to buy him out (hopefully before Rafa chucks in the towel). At the end of the day, we`re all fans, but some are more abrasive than others.

          • Damon Horner

            There is a bit of logic to going to games and supporting the team, aside from some who don’t think Ashley matters when the clubs on the ascendency it could also look like the right decisions are being made if the support is strong.

            If we are going to protest it has to be on the back of an event otherwise it looks like it’s down to the clubs success and Ashley looks like an even bigger victim against the unrealistic fans. Leicester Mag has said it, Keegan’s issue with the board was the right time.

          • grantham mag

            Here Here. Like wise I don’t go anymore Supported the Lads since the sixties, but I will not put a penny in the fat mans pocket, he has killed this once great football club.

          • Andy Mac

            ……and some have more cahones ? Not going to matches was a big wrench at the time but I felt it had to be done. If 50k others made the effort the Fatman would be gone quicker than you could say Bloated Buffoon.

  • Paul Patterson

    I think now is the time to pay up the contracts of Haidara, Saivet, Good and Lazaar.
    Freeing up places and taking a hit is far more valuable than keeping them and hindering squad improvement, especially at this stage.

    • Steve Smith

      Fully agree.

      Although expect to hear cash flow being used as an excuse to not sign anyone until x-mas with the £3-4m for each year remaining on those contracts combined that will cost (Assuming 15-20k per week wages).

      Realistically saivet and lazaar will have a few years left.

      • Paul Patterson

        Haidara and Good expire next summer, Saivet and Lazaar 2021 (Jesus Christ!!).

        • Steve Smith

          Approx £8m at a guess to pay off all 4 then!

          • Paul Patterson

            Deal!

          • Mal

            Unless you can agree a pay off that equates to significantly less than their wages over the remaining part of their contract this is a pointless exercise. I fear Saivet’s wages may substantially exceed the £15-20k estimate used above, which means we are only ever likely to get him out on a loan where we pay most of the wages. A disgrace really.

          • Andy Mac

            In “normal circumstances” when a manager is sacked for example and he has a four year contract the club will never pay him the entire amount but will eventually come up with a severance package that suits both parties.

          • Mal

            I agree which is what I was saying. My response was to Paul who appeared to be advocating that we pay them all off in full which wouldn’t actually achieve anything as it wouldn’t create any spaces in the squad.

    • mactoon

      I doubt he would pay any contracts up, it’s against his business ethos. And it wouldn’t make any further funds available to Rafa at this stage as the money used to pay up their contracts would then not be available for transfers. It wouldn’t free any places up as he has the majority of the players he will be using for his 25 man squad with a couple of spaces left for further new signings and the players you mention are all surplus to requirements and probably not part of the 25. The best he could hope for is selling them or getting them out on loan with the receiving club paying the wages.

    • Stephen Paylor

      I don’t think so Paul. Saivet actually looked a decent player but never really got a chance. Lazaar also could add something and were not blessed with much at Left Back but Haidara and Good i agree with.

  • rickyd

    Headline: Rafa Benitez decides on 23 man Newcastle United squad – The rest can leave

    Article: Well Rafa hasn’t actually decided on a 23 man squad and hasn’t said the rest can leave. Here’s a guess though! Oh and it’s a 25 man squad anyway lolz

    • Tim Boddy

      Did you read the title, or the article?!

      “With only 25 allowed to be named for the Premier League…”
      “You are only allowed to name 25 senior players…”

      Exactly what the author said, fella!

      • rickyd

        So Rafa has decided on a 23 man squad has he and said the rest can leave? Err… no he hasn’t.

        • Tim Boddy

          Sorry mate. Completely misunderstood the point you were making, in its entirety! My mistake! : )

          • Dandizzle Uk

            Someone apologising on the internet?! Whaaaaaaaa?!

          • Stephen Paylor

            impressed me too. Well played Tim

          • Albert Stubbins

            Do you think this could start a trend- Howay Mikey Baby- man up and say sorry- let it all oot bonny lad- we’re a forgiving lot- apart from Leazes Ender- lol lol

          • Leazes Ender

            I thought fleckman had an ounce of sense…… I was wrong.

          • Cuh736

            A mag who accepts he made an error… Rare breed. Thumbs up

  • David Bashore

    Merino is 1996 born and thus is classed as U21 for this season.

    • Mal

      I don’t think this qualifies him as u21. Has to be born after 1/1/97

      • David Bashore

        PL rules from last season: “For the 2016/17 campaign Under-21 players will have been born on or after 1 January 1995.”

        So unless they outright skip a birth year he is U21 this season.

        • Mal

          Agreed David. I’d already apologised for my mistake

          • David Bashore

            Missed it. My apologies.

    • Mal

      Apologies David. I think you’re right. He does qualify as u21

  • mactoon

    Yup that’s right but Jamie Sterry may be included in the 25 so there will still be 23 places gone leaving space for 2 more signings unless they were under 21 as at 1 Jan 2017.

  • Mxpx

    With Gayle injured mitrovic is our only striker I’d rather play without a striker than play riviere … can we name Adam Armstrong whilst he’s on loan on the basis that we are going to recall him if something goes wrong with mitrovic

    • Andy Mac

      He’d be U21 so no need

  • chandra gedanggoreng

    With the latest info regarding Collback (he can find another club) and the imminent arrival of Kenedy, still free 3 slots to grab new arrivals, huh?