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Opinion

22 Newcastle players rated – Keep or sell?

2 years ago
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This group of Newcastle players got the job done last season.

In 2017/18 it was always going to be a difficult season after promotion.

Especially after the relative lack of backing Rafa had in the transfer market.

All players rated below – keep or sell?

Rob Elliot – 7

I have said it before and I will say it again: if it wasn’t for that Rob Elliot penalty save against West Ham, then I really do think we would have been down there around the relegation zone come the end of the season.

This summer: Keep. Solid back up to Dubravka.

Karl Darlow – 6

No obvious errors but I have never been that convinced by Darlow. A good goalkeeper yes, and certainly good enough for us in the Championship, and this first year in the Premier League. In the long-run though, I just don’t see him having the presence to be the main man at Newcastle.

This summer: Sell.

Martin Dubravka – 10

I never quite understood why Rafa wanted to bring in a new goalkeeper so badly. While it is true that Darlow and Elliot weren’t exactly world beaters, I thought they were alright. Good enough for the time being.

Then this guy came in! Not much else needs to be said about Dubravka, easily the signing of the season for us.

This summer: Must Sign (have signed).

Paul Dummett – 8

I have defended Dummett from critics for a while now but I have to be honest, when he got injured on the first day of the season I wasn’t that bothered. It turns out that he is one of the players that you don’t realise what you have until they are not there. Manquillo filled in for Dummett while he was injured, and when he came back into the side you saw how much he improved the team.

Needs some competition in that left back area over the summer but he has by far had his best season at Newcastle.

This summer: Keep.

Jamaal Lascelles – 10

The only other player I will give a 10 to and that’s because he’s been my player of the season by a long distance. The stats when he is in the team compared to when he was out the team, go a long way to showing the impact he has had on the squad.

Over the course of the season too, each of his individual performances have always been consistent (bar that game against Watford). I wouldn’t sell him for £100 million.

This summer: Must keep.

Ciaran Clark – 6

Up until around February time, I still would have had him in the team ahead of Lejeune. Obviously there is no way I could argue that should be the case now but he is still a solid centre half. My player of the season last year in the Championship and I think he did ok in the first half of the season. As far as third choice centre halves go, I don’t think you could ask for much better than Clark at this stage.

This summer: Keep. Another reliable back up player.

Florian Lejeune – 7

He has gradually improved all season. Since the Man United game he hasn’t really looked back. I am still not entirely convinced that he is the star centre half that some pundits seem to be making him out to be but has done enough this season to definitely be alongside Lascelles on the team sheet.

This summer: Keep

DeAndre Yedlin – 9

Some agree and others disagree on my opinion of Yedlin.

For me he is our most underrated player. All season he has been up and down the right hand side of the pitch and for a long time he was our biggest attacking threat!

Obviously any player that gets forward as much as Yedlin is going to have his defensive frailties but that’s the nature of the game. I don’t think he’s bad defensively at all, and the balance at the back works well, considering Dummett is more conservative on the other side.

Also one of the very few players who I think can say they have performed consistently all season.

This summer: Keep. Like Dummett, could do with some decent competition for his spot.

Javier Manquillo – 4

I have been really disappointed with Manquillo every time I see him play. However, versatility does work in his favour and with the lack of depth in the squad, I would hold onto him for the time being.

This summer: Keep. Back up.

Jonjo Shelvey – 7

Seven might seem low for a guy who everyone seems to be talking about at the moment but I think he was poor for 60% of the season. Since the Man United game he has been brilliant and has been an 8 or a 9.

Regardless of my opinion on him, there is no doubt that he is one of the key players and arguably the best player in the squad.  The type of player who Rafa should be looking to build his team around next season, if he can keep up the performances.

This summer: Must keep

Mo Diame – 8

If this was on 2018 alone then it would have been a 12/10. Lets not forget though that for half of the season he was probably our worst player as well. The turn around in Diame literally was overnight.

I think given his age, any suggestions of a new contract are a little premature. I sense that the past 5 months may be as good as we will get out of him. Deserved his standing ovation against Chelsea, lets hope he can keep it up next season.

This summer: Keep… but don’t expect the same again from him next season.

Mikel Merino – 5

When he first came into the team we were all impressed. So much so that Merino was instantly snapped up on a permanent deal from Dortmund. Since that day though, he has struggled massively with injures. When he has appeared off the bench he’s generally been poor.

Still, there is so much potential there for such a young guy. No doubt talk of Bilbao coming in for him this summer will continue but this is a guy who I still think has a massive future.

This summer: Must keep.

Isaac Hayden – 5

Another young lad who has been largely disappointing this season. Not because he has been poor when he has played, but mainly because I thought he was so good in the Championship last year, that I expected him to step up and do a similar job in the PL.

I really like Hayden but can’t see Rafa giving him much of a chance again next season if he gets the signings he wants.

This summer: Keep. Could do with a season out on loan.

Jacob Murphy – 4

This summer: Keep. Another one who would benefit immensely from playing regular football out on loan.

Watching Murphy, I almost feel like half the battle is in his head sometimes. He is definitely a half decent player, with pace and a great strike behind him, but more than anything I think he lacks the confidence to play at this level.

I bet you if put him in a Norwich City shirt, and it was an FA Cup game against a Premier League team, he would look like a different player. In this side, under this manager, with the pressure of playing in front of our fans, maybe he is too scared to make a mistake… and so he ends up making more.

This summer: Keep.

Kenedy – 9

How much would you pay for him? I would argue that in the short-term he was a far bigger signing than Dubravka. In the first few games his performances alone raised the standard of the whole team.

Throw in that first goal against Southampton, and the fact that he ran himself into the ground after an hour in almost every game, and you can’t ask for a better loan signing… nor can I remember one.

This summer: Obviously is a no brainer in trying to sign him but it’s not going to happen.

Matt Ritchie – 9

I saw a few people mention him to be their player of the season and it’s a fair argument. It says a lot about his character that he managed to come back from his poor form over Christmas to become a key player in the side that fired us up the table. Remember, at one point over Christmas, with Atsu playing well, Murphy looking half decent and Rafa using two strikers, he was really struggling to get into the team.

One of my favourite players of the Mike Ashley era.

Massive goal against Man United, and won’t get the credit for how good of a finish that goal actually was.

This summer: Keep

Christian Atsu – 6

We all had high hopes up for him after his brilliant end to the Championship season. Made a solid start to the season and over Christmas looked like a real player.

Going back to that home game against Man City, he came on with 20 minutes to go or so (after a man of the match performance at West Ham the game before) and ran City absolutely ragged.

However, since then he has drifted out the team, and when Kenedy came in, it showed just the difference in ability between the two.

This summer: Keep

Ayoze Perez – 8

Ah, the one that probably splits opinion most in the Newcastle squad. First of all, without Perez’ goals and assists this season, we would have almost certainly been in the relegation zone, or at least close, come the end of the season.

On the other hand, he is rather useless in most games. Constantly giving the ball away and spends more time on the floor than on the ball for me. Nonetheless, I thought his all-round play towards the end of the season was much better, and he was one of the few players who did alright when the team let their heads go towards the end of the season.

Friends know I don’t really rate Perez, but I am a big believer in that if you are a centre forward and you chip in with important goals, then it really doesn’t matter how you play sometimes. Goals win games.

This summer: Keep (although if someone wants to offer £15-20 million based on his form in 2018 I would take it).

Dwight Gayle – 6

As said, goals win games. I think Gayle’s problem this season is that I think back to games in which he did score (away to Chelsea and Man United) and the scoreline meant that his goals were irrelevant. Perhaps with a big goal coming somewhere in there his confidence could have been given a lift.

It wasn’t to be for him this season and at times he looked out of his depth all up on his own. I can’t knock his effort but we need to improve in this area over the summer.

This summer: Keep (would sell for £12-15 million).

Joselu – 6

I like Joselu.

Not because he is any good, performance wise he has been poor and he’s missed a load of chances. Yet he comes on every game and gives his all for the shirt. That is the absolute minimum you can ask for. It is players like him, who despite the lack of ability, set the tone for everyone else in the squad.

With little resale value (compared to Gayle), I think he can be a half useful squad player again next season.

This summer: Keep

Chancel Mbemba + Alexandr Mitrovic…

Can we get £25 million altogether for the two of them?

You can follow the author on Twitter @JonathanComyn
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