I have been very surprised by the number of comments from fans, regarding just how many different Newcastle players they would be happy to see leave this summer.
Last season surely showed just how little depth there was in the squad, with Rafa Benitez often having little option but to go with the same set of players.
With not a single outfield signing brought in so far, I don’t see how any player that Rafa might have any use for, could be seen as easily expendable.
I’m not talking about the obvious list of suspects.
The likes of Colback, Sels, Saivet, and others, clearly have no future at St James Park.
I don’t think anybody on this list of Newcastle players can be allowed to leave, at least not unless there is a better option already lined up AND Newcastle have also increased the number of players capable of performing in the Premier League.
There are only 12 listed there and yet I often see comments saying happy to sell Dwight Gayle, plus others saying the same about the likes of Merino and Clark.
Newcastle United need to improve both the first team AND the squad.
At the very least next season, I think we need an 18 man matchday squad, all of a certain minimum standard.
The 12 above do have that, then if you add Elliot or Darlow from the list below (or another back-up keeper to be brought in), I think we are then looking to sign the other five (outfield) players who would then give us an 18 man squad ready for next season.
These are the 14 players who I think Newcastle can comfortably sell (Mitro is a bit of a different case, as Rafa simply doesn’t see him fitting into his team, so has to be sold regardless)
Jacob Murphy, Christian Atsu, Isaac Hayden, Karl Darlow, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Rob Elliot, Rolando Aarons, Chancel Mbemba, Javier Manquillo, Joselu, Henri Saivet, Matz Sels, Achraf Lazaar, Jack Colback.
The reality is that not all 14 of these players will leave and indeed even with another five or more signings this summer, Rafa would still need a few of these to hang around as extra bodies, cover for the cover etc.
Newcastle carried the luck with injuries last season and it would be very fortunate if that was repeated in 2018/19.
The margins were far too tight last time and you do wonder what could have happened without loan signings Dubravka and Kenedy added in January.
Rafa built a squad with great cover for the Championship season but we are miles away from having the same for the Premier League at this moment in time.