No need to tinker too much at Newcastle United
After reflecting on what has been a more than satisfactory return for Newcastle United to the premiership…
I really don’t see the need for vast recruitment, or an overhaul of our supposed ‘championship level’ playing squad, to improve on the 10th place finish.
The first half of the season had seen Rafa making regular changes to his team sheet, whilst he worked out his best formula. During this period, to second guess who would be playing from one week to the next, was not an easy task.
However, moving into the new year, the first 11 was far more consistent and the results seem to have had a positive effect, providing a stable return of points as a result.
Newcastle’s form since Christmas would have seen us finish in a European qualifying 7th, had that form been over the course of a full season, and I only see a need for two big first team purchases & three squad players to improve on the 10th place.
In terms of the squad, I have been supporting Newcastle United home and away since 1986 and I can’t recall a better defensive unit of Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune and Dummett, after seemingly decades of the club having a reputation for diabolical defending.
Not much investment needed for defensive improvement in this team, other than a couple of full back squad covers to replace the obvious squad player exits.
Assuming one of those big first team purchases was Kenedy, then you would argue there is not too much wrong with the midfield, with Ritchie, Jonjo and Diame making up the quartet.
With also competition for places from the promising and improving youth, with international future aspirations of Merino, Hayden and Murphy, and the more experienced Atsu too.
Perez splits opinion between fans, but a squad addition to rival him for the number 10 shirt, who can excite and create, would go down well.
Then of course the major requirement with heavy investment of circa £30m on a clear first choice centre forward, that is not in the twilight of his career, but someone who has the potential under Benitez tutelage to be a top rate centre forward.
With support for that main striker predominantly from Gayle as well as the lower class squad strikers, it’s not unrealistic to think improvement can be made. With also not much net spend given the five or six probably moving on.
The core of the team is there and what is more, the belief is also there, having conquered Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal in the final months of the seasons.
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