It has been an interesting end of the season for Newcastle United.

Four victories in a row took NUFC to safety earlier than expected  and dreams of a top eight finish.

Only for four straight  defeats to follow and fears of potentially sinking as low as 16th, if everything went wrong in these very final days.

The first 37 games have seen two wins for Newcastle by more than a one goal margin and five times losing by more than a single goal in the Premier League.

The goals for column is 36 and goals against is 47.

Outside of the relegation zone, only fellow promoted clubs Huddersfield and Brighton have scored less goals than NUFC.

When it comes to goals conceded, only six have leaked fewer than Newcastle.

If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard ‘All we need is a decent centre-forward in the summer’ then I would be….around £2.86 richer.

If only life was so simple.

Don’t take it personally but I think you are pretty foolish if you see the situation as…Newcastle haven’t scored enough goals, Dwight Gayle is our centre-forward, so it must be his fault.

Yes, he should have scored a few more goals but he isn’t alone.

On the wings, Matt Ritchie is top scorer with three.

Central midfield sees Shelvey with one and Mohamed Diame most productive with two.

Centre-backs Lascelles and Clark have weighed in with a valuable five from set-pieces.

I can’t really remember any of our full-backs even having a shot.

The thing is as well, Rafa Benitez is playing a system where everybody, including Dwight Gayle, does their bit in terms of defending.

Plus, Dwight Gayle has played a valuable part in Perez’ recent spurt of four goals in six games (he had scored four in his previous 48 PL games), the number nine playing his part in the build-up to some goals, whilst also taking defenders away to create space for Perez, by moving out of the middle.

I don’t think Dwight Gayle is good enough to be our first choice every week in the top tier but equally, I think it is the height of stupidity to just blame him and/or think it a good idea we should get rid of him in the summer.

I think the bottom line is that Rafa has to bring in at least five signings who are better than the players currently in the team, with Perez and Gayle top of that list to be replaced.

However, we need to keep them and the other two or three who find themselves bettered, and put them on the bench/keep them in the squad.

Two things also worth a mention.

We have been exceptionally lucky with injuries this season, with no real key players out long-term. At a push you might say Dummett and/or Lejeune but I don’t see them as two of our core best players.

Rafa decided on a best 11 from Man Utd at home onwards and pretty much stuck with it every game. He did that for two reasons – they were the best 11 he had and he also didn’t really have any alternatives.

Of those not in that eleven, Mikel Merino and Ciaran Clark are probably exceptions but both have had injury/fitness issues in these final stages.

Newcastle need to bring in at least four or five better players this summer AND also ensure that he is adding goals to the squad, plus tell the existing squad that they also have to start taking more responsibility when it comes to goalscoring.

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  • glassjawsh-got-banned

    AFIK, literally no one on these forums has ever said ALL we need is a goal scorer… you’re refuting an argument that’s never been made. If anything, the position most people are clamoring hardest for is a new #10.

    • Benmagpie

      Wouldn’t it be AFAIK?

      • glassjawsh-got-banned

        As Faras I Know? haha, no you’re right

  • Paul Patterson

    If we’d had a decent goal scorer in those home games that went against us 0-1 we’d be a lot better off. We need four players as a minimum but a striker that can get 15 goals and retaining Dubravka and Kenedy is priority over anything else.

    • Guest 2

      Any striker needs to be provided with chances and decent balls played to him. We are desperately lacking in that department.
      Sick of seeing promising runs, corners etc come to absolutely nothing because of that.

  • FatParosite

    The truth is we NEED strength in depth and competition. Your estimation of four or five is very low. We were extremely lucky with injuries. Your argument is myopic and has probably been sewn by the Bishop boiler pot ‘the comical’. But don’t worry Ryder et al are saying our youth system is going in for a respray & everything is rosy in the garden of NUFC.

    • Paul Patterson

      So how many do you think we need then? We can’t just go and get 10 players.

      • Jezza

        We can but we won’t.

        • Paul Patterson

          What, buy 10 quality players?

          • Jezza

            Why not? The funds are there or they should be. £28 million transfer profit since Rafa arrived plus God knows how many tens of millions or more of television money.

          • Paul Patterson

            10? Ten?

          • Jezza

            Yes 10, yes ten. Why not? The funds are there.

          • Paul Patterson

            How much will each cost? £5m? Kenedy will cost £25m+, a top striker will cost £25m+. £50m and we only have two.

          • Jezza

            After eleven years of actively not buying the players we have needed to strengthen the team and with the club now raking in record profits there ought to be more than enough money to buy 10 players who are all better than what we’ve got now.

            It’s all moot anyway because there will be nowt but loans and free transfers coming in and none of them will improve the team. In fact our squad is likely to be even weaker by the end of the window.

          • Ram Kishore

            We weren’t inactive in summers of 2014 and 2015, we did buy quality players now and then

          • Jezza

            Ashley has spent 11 years systematically weakening our squad for profit. The difference in quality of our squad compared to what it was a decade ago is staggering and the odd decent player bouught along the way for resale value doesn’t change that. You say we bought some quality players in 2014 and 2015 but where are those players now? They’re not playing for Newcastle any more are they. They have already been sold on for profit and our playing squad is now weaker than ever.

          • Paul Patterson

            I’m not a fan that thinks splashing £150m+ is the answer. I think £70-90m is about right. Plus, brining in 10 players or similar will not work. Too many changes all at once rarely does. A middle ground between belt tightening and chucking money at the problem is the answer.

          • Jezza

            Yes I agree that throwing money at the problem isn’t always the answer and that trying to bed in 10 new first teamers could go badly wrong. All I am saying though but is that the finances are there to buy 10 players if the club was willing to do so.

          • Ram Kishore

            That will not work.. last season’s financial impact..
            Total overhaul like bring in 10 players will cause us nothing but instability like what Everton had in the beginning

      • FatParosite

        The answer is 11 minus those out of the squad you think are premiership quality.

  • Lord

    If I had a penny for every time this season I read the Sky Sports commentary and it said ‘Gayle receives a great pass and should do better’, I’d have more than £2.86.

  • Leicester Mag

    Might not solve all the issues but it is by far the most obvious issue and the longest running one.

    • HarryHype59

      100% correct!

  • Tweed Mag

    Not sure anyone has said we just need a striker – the most common phrase has been ‘Championship squad’ inferring a need for talent all over the pitch.

  • Leazes.

    Its not the first team you need to upgrade its the squad, and yes we have been exceptionally lucky with injuries, in fact probably one key injury from another relegation, imagine if Shelvey hadn’t been sent out with injections or Lascelles had broken something other than Shelvey’s finger.

  • Weyhhadaway

    Kenedy plus one, or two if he doesn’t sign, good attacking midfielders, two strikers as a priority. The defense got by really well so we could do it again if need be, although reinforcements would be good there too. There would be less stress on the defense if we could spend a bit more time in the other half scoring more often.

  • justchampion

    I would say you were a fool if you didn’t think we would be in a better position if we had a decent striker. We haven’t been lucky with injuries. Rafa has game managed the players. Remember everyone throwing a hissie when he rotated? It is no coincidence the injury situation has improved significantly since Rafa.

  • Weyhhadaway

    Bas Dost got his usual mention today, Charnley thought it was his testimonial season, against Porto in August.

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    Perez top of the list without him we would have been relegated. Top goals against Arsenal and Leicester that is what kept us up. Also great goal against Watford. Foer me him and Lascelles best two players in the team. Without Perez we would be in the championship so thanks for your comments.

    • justchampion

      As valuable as his goals are he is not the main striker, the fact that he outscores our ‘goal scorers’ tells its own story. Then again I am looking up, you would be happy with staying up like any true Ashley apologist.

    • Weyhhadaway

      Perez is finally turning into a good attacking midfielder/No.10. but isn’t getting us 15-20 goals any time soon.

      • Dillon Tovak

        Perez would be a good sub for the player we should sign. By no means should we get rid though.

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        What people forget is that only seven players got more than twelve goals. If Perez can get that next season and I believe he can he will be worth his weight in gold like a twenty million pound signing.
        However like Ashley the Mag does not like him.

  • jamila

    11 PLAYERS OOT 9 IN:
    COLBACK = MERINO (signed)

    • Jezza

      …or more realistically, Lascelles, Mitrovic and Shelvey all sold, two or three duffers in on loan, Colback, Saivet, Mbemba back from loan and given a fresh chance under Pardew, “just like new signings”.

      • Geordiegiants

        Probably true about the signings, but I don’t think Pardew will be back ahead of the likes of Gary Monk etc. Pardew will want to much money these days for Jabba. Remeber he signed him from nowhere the first time.

    • Dillon Tovak

      No thanks to Bas Dost, why do you want him!? He was worse than Joselu against England.
      Traore hasn’t proven himself at prem level.
      Craig Dawson? Meh.
      I’d rather keep Mitro than swap, plus Cairney isn’t prem proven either.
      Abel Hernandez 🙄
      Back to the drawing board for me mate.

      • glassjawsh-got-banned

        yeah, Hernandez has never scored more than 4 goals during a season in the prem. That’s not an upgrade on Joselu at all.

    • Lhc

      Merino was signed last summer, also he will be sold this summer there’s definitley something going on there with him, he rarely plays even when he isn’t injured. He wants to go back to Spain and he will in the summer.

  • Natturner26

    Gayle has been useless this season. Period. Joselu worse than useless. Best 11 currently would include Mitro. Also think Mbemba should at least be coming off the bench. A striker’s job is to score and our strikers have not this season. Period. Pathetic numbers, and it isn’t due to lack of service. I would love to have Jonjo pumping long balls up to me. They are wasted on our forwards. Kennedy, Yedlin, Ritchie also provide good service. It is argued Mitro has found his level but he’s also getting Championship service. Watching Gayle and Joselu week after week this season has been utterly depressing. Least enjoyable season for me, worse than the relegation seasons. Apart from a couple nice runs it has been joyless. Nothing to hope for, mostly due to the striking situation Rafa has created by screwing Mitro and bringing in an injured replacement.

    • Billmag

      Absolute load of rubbish and what would you call a most enjoyable season then.

    • Dillon Tovak

      “I would love to have Jonjo pumping long balls up to me”
      The actor said to the bishop.

    • Anita kick up the Hoop

      It’s “Full stop” not “period” in England, but you’re right about Gayle .. take away all the endeavour, all the chasing and work rate and you are left with the fact that when the ball is in areas where it should be dispatched into the opposing teams net …. Gayle isn’t up to it. Full stop.

      • Dillon Tovak

        Language is forever evolving. Period.

  • Gary

    spot on what your saying the players effort has been phenomenal all season but the way we set up is the reason we dont score nowhere enough goals. we dpnt commit enough men forward cps this is the way rafa sets up. We dont create lots of chances so nor matter who we buy will struggle to get anywhere near 20 goals a season

    • Billmag

      We’ve scored more goals than Burnley who looks like finishing 7 and qualified for the Europa, created more chances than the spuds last night so your argument is flawed.

      • Dillon Tovak

        Spurs had some key starters missing and played like they were shyting themselves. It wasn’t your usual spurs playing with absolute freedom.

        • Billmag

          You can only play what’s in front of you.

          • Dillon Tovak

            Exactly right and we did well but I think we’d have to play better than last night to dominate the spurs we’ve got used to in recent years.

          • Billmag

            Is it 2 seasons since we beat them 5-1 how time flyes.

          • Dillon Tovak

            However again, they were a demoralised team who’d been pipped by Leicester and beaten up by Chelsea and we created a fantastic atmosphere for Rafa and played with no pressure.
            I get your point but we definitely need lots of strengthening before we can confidently go toe to toe with Tottenham.

          • Billmag

            I agree with you but I was pointing out to Gary that we are not as bad as some people make out, and me personally think we have the nucleus of having a decent team hopefully with 4 or possibly 5 editions.

      • Gary

        birnley dont score many goals either!!!! we could have Aguero up front and he would struggle to score anywhere near 20. a centre forward wpnt change the worls cos we set up to defend and let have teams have the ball for 65- 70% of the game. cant score goals without the ball bonny lad

        • Billmag

          Well BONNY lad we haven’t got the set up to play Keegan style football BONNY lad and if you are going to reply to me learn to spell goodbye.

          • Gary

            doesn’t matter what he has at his disposal or who he manages thats just the way he sets up he done the same at madrid with a team full of world beaters ya halfwit!!!

          • Billmag

            Just look at the trophies won you half wit, go and support Man City they will give you what you want half wit.By the way are you that numptie off only fools and horses.

  • Alreet

    I made a keep and chuck list last season and to some point it was sorted by Jan.

    Heres the new list after the second to last game.

    Sell. Hayden. Diame. Perez. Jose. Gayle. Mitro. Aarons. Slimani.

    Need. 3 new strikers. A number 10. 2 center midfielders a right winger and cover for right and left back. This would all be inclusive of keeping the likes of kenedy and Dubravka.

    We all know what we need and Rafa knows more than any of us. Will he be given the reigns and the nod to just go and do whats needed.

    We know we dont want 200 mill to rebuild. It would be nice but we are also real. Spending 25 – 30 mill on 1 striker or one winger should be ok though. Along with another 20mill on a CM. Or 15 mill on a left back. 70 – 80 mill could be spent very wisely by wise one. Dont take a butter knife to a gun fight.

  • nevfur

    Very true we need more goals all round although our system doesn’t lend itself to too many chances around the team. I think though a good striker can finish and ours sadly can’t despite their impressive work rate. Two good strikers and a number ten needed, keep Gayle and Perez. On the wing Kenedy or similar needed minimum, midfield competition for Diame. Two full backs to compete with Yedlin and Dummett. A CB to replace the likely departing Mbemba. Sign up Dubravka minimum in goal. That’s nine in minimum needed. Out minimum Gamez, Sels, Haidara, Mbemba, Lazaar, Colback, Joselu, Mitrovic, Saivet, Aaron’s, Good, Sterry.

  • NUFCDan

    If only Rafa had been allowed to bring in Javier Hernandez like he wanted instead of getting stuck with Joselu.

  • mactoon

    I don’t think I’ve heard many people say all we need is a striker but it is a position that has been largely ignored since selling Demba Ba in 12/13. Since then we have brought in both Mitro and Gayle, neither of which have been a success in the Premiership. Currently we have scored a mere 36 in 37 and our forwards have only scored 8, 5 and 4. So I would say it’s a major area needing to be addressed.

    Thinking about Rafa’s style of play do you think this has more to do with the players currently at his disposal? looking back over his Liverpool years they scored between 57 and 93 goals per season so he didn’t have a problem setting up a team to score goals back then?

    • thewildchimp

      Basically, if you have good forwards and decent service (or the other way around), your team is going to score goals no matter what the system is. The system only dictates how and how many, but the chances are gonna come, unless you get outplayed. Which isn’t going to happen 38 times in a season – even the Macks haven’t fell so low.
      Our problem is that we have O.K. service (Kenedy included) and abysmal forwards (Perez not included, he’s alright). The only other competent forward, Mitro, was loaned out, so we are where we are. Just for comparison, Joselu and Gayle have equaled Mitro’s debut Prem score of 9. That’s the two of them having the exact same effect as the 21 year old lad first time in England, starting in about 2/3 of their total starts this season. And he isn’t really a great player. That’s our problem right there, in plain sight.

  • We know we lack more attacking mentality but with our current squad there is no chance in going for an attacking formation, we lack the technical and athletic abilities to do that.
    Half of our team can’t even do simple things like controlling the ball and passing further than 5-6 yards with pinpoint accuracy. Those are musts if we can play the attractive football we used to play under Keegan.
    In short, we need at least 5-6 technically superior players, especially out wide.
    So far Lejeune, Shelvey, Perez, Ritchie and Kenedy far surpass any other squad member in that department and none of them is close to most players Man City or even Tottenham have.

  • Rich Lawson

    I don’t think all we need is a centre forward,but surely it is a priority,We create a lot of chances which don’t get converted by the current forward options.I think you would be a lot richer given the number of times on here contributors have wrung their hands over the final finish by Gayle,Joselu,whoever. The number of 0-1 losses with chances to level/win is unacceptable. Even if you made no change to the current team (and I don’t endorse that) a 15/20 goal striker would make a huge difference.

  • nufcslf

    Until a new owner, obvious player topiccs are a complete and utter waste of time. Nothing is going to change.

  • Ba ba.

    It’s the main reason we are not 8th or higher .. The mised chances this season has been disgusting.