The question marks over Rafa Benitez, have deflected a lot of attention away from the fact that there is an awful lot of work to be done in sorting out so many Newcastle players this close season.

Never before had NUFC loaned out so many players in a season as in 2017/18, there were many young players of course, but also a serious number of senior unwanted players who couldn’t attract a buyer.

These seven players will all be looking for new clubs this summer and apart from Aleksandar Mitrovic, each could find it a struggle unless they are prepared to compromise on wages:

Henri Saivet

Matz Sels

Achraf Lazaar

Jack Colback

Rolando Aarons

Chancel Mbemba

Aleksandar Mitrovic

When it comes to Newcastle players who Rafa Benitez will definitely want to keep, I think most of us would come up with a similar list.

My 10 sure things would be:

Jonjo Shelvey, Jamaal Lascelles, Mohamed Diame, Florian Lejeune, Matt Ritchie, Paul Dummett, DeAndre Yedlin, Ayoze Perez, Ciaran Clark. Dwight Gayle

Most of these players were regulars in the impressive late run of form that ensure Premier League safety with still over a month of the season remaining.

I know many Newcastle fans might not include Dwight Gayle but even if Rafa manages to land a quality goalscorer, preferably two, this summer, he will still need back up and Gayle will surely be kept no matter what.

As for Ciaran Clark, he might not have featured in the later stages but he is versatile and has shown he is very capable throughout his two years at Newcastle, so another no-brainer to keep.

After that, I think we are getting into the maybe/maybe not territory.

No disrespect to Jacob Murphy but I think if Rafa could get the £10m back on him, then he would do so. Not that I am writing him off but I’m sure Benitez would see that money better used elsewhere now, Murphy has promise but he still has a long way to go. I think he will stay as part of the squad  regardless.

As for Mikel Merino, he is probably the big one, obviously talented and if he can’t get a regular game, there is sure to be interest in taking him back to Spain.

As for others….I see Christian Atsu, Isaac Hayden, Rob Elliot, Javier Manquillo, Joselu and Karl Darlow all players who Rafa Benitez won’t maybe be desperate to get rid of – but if anybody comes in with a decent offer, he would be happy to trade them and hope to bring in better quality, even as cover.

The end of season run-in showed what little strength in depth there was, so some serious work on the squad needed this summer.

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  • Wor Lass

    Probably not far off the mark, Jack. The thing isn`t necessarily about who Rafa doesn`t want, though. The player`s expectations obviously come into it and, of course, fatty and his chief minion will also be having a (the?) major influence. The one I think you could be wrong on is Murphy. I think Rafa has faith in him. The retained list I`m worried about isn`t the players, though, it`s the manager!

    • JonMag

      the retained list should contain 7 players max

      • Wor Lass

        Over and above Jack`s list, who else would you ditch, Jon? Excluding Fatty, who`s a given!

        • JonMag

          as first team starters i`d exclude Clark, Perez, Gayle.
          i`d give Perez a half season see if he can keep his form

          • Wor Lass

            The way Perez has played since Christmas has earned him his place – before that he was a goner.

    • Billmag

      To get rid of the so called deadwood would have to be done over a period of time, that’s why it’s imperative we keep Rafa so he can fulfill his project.

  • JonMag

    Newcastle city council hasn`t enough bin lorries to dump the garbage at Newcastle
    the`d have to go private

  • Billmag

    Totally disagree about Murphy he’s a young boy with potential, the thing is you can’t get rid of too many squad player’s because they would have to be replaced and fatty won’t stump up the money for replacement’s.

    • Lhc

      I disagree mate Murphy isn’t a boy he’s a 20odd year old man earning large sums of money so earn it, imo 12 or so million wasted. Don’t understand why we didn’t just lump that and msnquillo fee on a striker.

      • NUFCDan

        Murphy was signed because he suits the model of young player with a potential big sell on value.

        • Lhc

          Trust me no of this is happening with Murphy

          • Lhc

            *no chance

      • Billmag

        What sort of striker are we going to get for £15ml, I just think Murphy was a bit overwhelmed at times, we as fans always tend to write people off to early IMO.

        • Lhc

          Steven mounie who went to Huddersfield 12 mil. Hernandez West ham 15 mil. There is good players out there for instance a player I always liked cheap as chips a lad called Suso a winger from Liverpool now playing for inter signed for 1 million now worth 20plus bags of talent, but we go n waste 12 million on Murphy.

  • Stephen

    Murphy had his best game against Chelsea-my opinion.
    Some players take a while to settle.
    I remember Gary Speed(RIP) having an indifferent start and he turned out of the best ever.

  • mentalman

    Dwight Gayle will be one of the first out, there’ll be a number of championship teams happy to pay 10-15million for him

  • Rafa has shown faith in Murphy and Atsu and both will not be sold, but Gayle and Clark could go.
    We need to sign Dubravka ASAP and keep Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett, Diame, Shelvey, Ritchie and Perez. Anyone beyond that can go or stay as a squad member and wait for a chance.
    We have to sell at least 5 players before we can get someone to come in.
    Too many on the book.

  • Paul Patterson

    Stop using the term ‘trading’. I first heard it off Llambias and it makes us sound like a bloody market stall.

  • Bowlsey

    Sad about Mitrovic. I love the guy and think he’s a serious talent but his style of play/personality clearly is at odds with what Rafa wants and I can respect that. I can’t question any of Rafa’s decisions so far, so who am I to question him over Mitrovic?

    • Popnbgd

      Truth of the matter is Rafa has no valid reason not to play Mitrovic…Rafa is a boss and he is calling the shots but he has never offer legit reason for not playing him…Instead he spent 5 mill on Joselu and loaned Mitro

  • Ole Kristian

    Everyone in this team is disposable, remember that in Benitez regime.

  • Philippines

    What about Victor Fernandez, 20 years old and was rated star player in the Hong Kong Sevens this weekend?