The Newcastle United squad is now taking a bit of shape with five players out and four in.
You are only allowed to name a maximum of 25 senior players for your squad once the transfer window closes, and with Aleksandar Mitrovic now confirmed as a Fulham player, Rafa has exactly 25.
This doesn’t take into account any of those still classed as Under 21 players, which for the coming season is anybody born on or after 1 January 1997. So if they don’t go out on loan, any/all of Victor Fernandez, Sean Longstaff, Freddie Woodman, Callum Roberts, Adam Armstrong, and Josef Yarney (as well as the other younger players), could play for Newcastle in addition to the maximum 25 senior players that will be named.
At the moment, Newcastle United/Mike Ashley are/is sitting on a transfer profit of around £35m so far.
£42m sales (so far): Chancel Mbemba (£6m), Mikel Merino (£10m), Jack Colback loan (free transfer), Aleksandar Mitrovic (£22m), Matz Sels (£4m)
£7m buys (so far…): Fabian Schar £3m), Kenedy (loan), Ki Sung-yueng (free transfer), Martin Dubravka (£4m)
This is how the senior Newcastle United squad looks at the minute, with 25 players;
Martin Dubravka, Karl Darlow, Rob Elliot
DeAndre Yedlin, Paul Dummett, Javier Manquillo, Jamie Sterry, Achraf Lazaar
Jamaal Lascelles, Florian Lejeune, Ciaran Clark, Fabian Schar
Matt Ritchie, Kenedy, Jacob Murphy, Christian Atsu, Rolando Aarons
Mohamed Diame, Jonjo Shelvey, Ki Sung-Yueng, Henri Saivet, Isaac Hayden
Dwight Gayle, Ayoze Perez, Joselu
With Florian Lejeune set to be out for most/all of the season (a new 25 man squad is named after the January window, so Rafa can use Lejeune’s space in his squad that will be named in August for somebody else), that takes us down to 24 senior players.
Isaac Hayden wants to leave, Dwight Gayle looks very likely to leave, whilst at a minimum Rafa is very keen to move on Henri Saivet, Rolando Aarons, Achraf Lazaar and Jamie Sterry as well. If those six leave, it would take Rafa down to 18 senior players and three of those would be goalkeepers.
Yoshinori Muto is waiting for a work permit (his £9.5m transfer fee would/will take down the summer transfer profit down to £25.5m) so that would take us back up to 19 in the senior squad(if those other players left).
Whilst if Dwight Gayle does go, it would almost certainly see Salomon Rondon arriving, taking us effectively to 20 senior players who Rafa would be interested in using, plus Isaac Hayden if he doesn’t get his exit wish.
I think what we are looking at, is a position where Rafa Benitez is going to make a decent number of further changes, both in and out. Not exactly ideal when the window closes in 10 days time and the season starts in 12 days.
Good news though that after getting a number of unwanted players out, Rafa is starting to create space to bring in other targets.
Whatever we end up with at 5pm on Thursday 9 August, it won’t be ideal. However, at least Rafa Benitez may well have brought in a number of players who he believes can be of use, even if he has been forced to go a long way down his list of preferred targets.