The Newcastle United squad is a bit of an illusion.

Kenedy is set to have his medical today and once he is confirmed, there will be 29 players in the squad, which 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.

However, despite that high figure of 29, it s fair to say that the Newcastle United squad is seriously short of strength in depth.

The final months of last season saw the first eleven do remarkably well BUT when it came to trying to give some of them a rest in the final stages, after safety was achieved, the drop in standard was far too big when replacements came in.

In the past Rafa Benitez has made clear that he doesn’t see it as essential to have a full 25 man squad of senior players. The Newcastle boss believing that a senior numbers of 22 or so and a few promising young players is more than enough.

However, I think realistically that is way beyond what could be achieved by the end of this transfer window and instead the first target must be getting us up to having at least 18 players for a matchday squad, where you don’t have serious concerns when any change is made to the first choice eleven.

This is how the senior Newcastle United squad looks at the minute (assuming Kenedy is added);


First Team: Martin Dubravka Others: Karl Darlow, Rob Elliot, Matz Sels


First Team: DeAndre Yedlin, Paul Dummett Others: Javier Manquillo, Jamie Sterry, Achraf Lazaar


First Team: Jamaal Lascelles, Florian Lejeune, Ciaran Clark Others: Chancel Mbemba


First Team: Matt Ritchie, Kenedy Others: Jacob Murphy, Christian Atsu, Rolando Aarons

Central Midfielders

First Team:

Mohamed Diame, Jonjo Shelvey, Ki Sung-Yueng, Mikel Merino Others: Jack Colback, Henri Saivet, Isaac Hayden


First Team:

Dwight Gayle, Ayoze Perez, Aleksandar Mitrovic Others: Joselu

You are only allowed to name a maximum of 25 senior players for your squad once the transfer window closes, so as it stands at least four need to be shifted.

However, we must surely be hoping for at least three or four more signings to follow Kenedy, so some serious outgoings need to be made.

Merino’s departure must be confirmed very soon surely, whilst a deal for Mbemba will have to be found that ensures he leaves.

Mitrovic will also go but then we start and get down amongst those where it will be far harder to shift them.

Sels, Lazaar, Sterry, Aarons, Colback and Saivet have no future at the club in my opinion.

Whilst I think in an ideal world we would also see potential upgrades in various positions with players such as Joselu and Manquillo allowed to move on as well.

It is a reality that the true extent of how successful Rafa can be in recruiting players, will be largely dependent on getting them out the other end. With just over four weeks to go until the window closes, we need to see movement as soon as possible.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) sees the plane taking off for Ireland, as the squad have their pre-season training camp.

Twelve months ago Rafa Benitez made it abundantly clear that a number of senior players had no future at St James Park by leaving them behind, even taking a few of the kids instead  to make up the numbers.

Wednesday will be very interesting when we see who makes the flight, hopefully those left behind then ensuring their agents are frantically looking for new cubs, rather than an intention of staying on for higher wages but no chance of playing.

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  • Virsino

    Interesting read Matthew. It seems to me (opinion) that 9 of them are for the chop, which is a hell of a wage bill each week. He’ll have some job moving that dead wood on.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    When you see the 29 players listed it`s quite frightening to think you could get rid of 20 of them & not know they`d gone.

    • Geordiegiants

      Easily 20, more for me.

    • I Think Therefore I Am

      Stinks of utter incompetence, all steaming down from the top! Especially considering the list of unbelievable donkey ex managers appointed, makes you see with full clarity, what a complete incompetent MA is! 🐟

  • cc

    totally agree versino/maximus
    just laughing at your 9 for the chop we are all in the same mind on this I came up with 10 but one of them was Ritchie who is being sold rather than chopped as for the other 9 across all depts. we all know and agree who they are but as you say who the hell would buy them
    fee wise mbemba, sels, Ritchie, mitro, the rest you couldn’t give away
    if only the club would allow their agents to seek free transfers they’d be out in a crack and off our wage bill
    and re colback we got the lad for nothing I think its a disgrace we wont let him go for the same, not once has he moaned in public whatever we think of him as a player
    but in the world of chumpley,” mike ive finally got a deal for 2 million for saviet” weve only paid him 3 mill in wages while I looked for it–” well done penfold”

    • Toon 83

      Rafa has to take some blame too. Some of his signings have been shocking. Now we’ve got to try and get rid of them too

      • TheFatController

        Yeah, but we have to accept that Gayle got us up, Yedlin was only £5m, Hayden less, Ritchie got us up, Diame was peanuts, Dubravka is ok, Kenedy wants to play for him, Murphy might still come good. merino hasn’t lost value.

        It’s not as though they’re big money write offs – they’re a couple of punts that didn’t come off, some of whom actually play occasionally

        We’re not looking at a Rodwell-sized gaff.

  • Nut

    The key here is how players are handled, we need to get rid of an awful lot of players who are surplus to our needs.

    Short of ripping up their contracts (which won’t happen as we would have to pay them off) we won’t get rid so easily, most will have to be loaned out in order to try and offset some or all of their wage.

    This is an issue that we have had for decades, too many players, too little quality and too many of them more than happy to stand bye taking wages doing nothing.

    In part I think this is down to a lack of back up for those players, yes they have agents but agents are only so good as they are…. most agents won’t be motivated to move a player if it involves work to find a new club, they want easy money.

    The club needs to be proactive about this and assist these players in finding new pastures that suit them.

    If they do that their agents will come out the woodwork and moves will materialise quickly.

  • FatParosite

    Mercenary policy promotes mercenary players. This lack of management largesse eradicates loyalty to the point where those you have singled out for non preferential treatment use their position to inflict pain on your cause. It happened in the cabinet yesterday.

  • mentalman

    Its a sad state of affairs when we are having to sell first team and useful squad players to improve the squad but then be left with so much deadwood.

    A perfect example of this is our goalkeepers, we have too many, so darlow or elliott who could do a decent job as backup will be sold because we cant get rid of sels

  • TheFatController

    When you look at it, it’s a squad where no one cost more than £13m

    I mean, what do you say to Mo Diame?

    Mate, you’re not Modric are you? “No, but the again at £2m at 29, what were you expecting ?”

    Perez ? ‘I was a few million from Tenerife – so no, I’m no Ronaldo, surprisingly ..’

    You can go on through the squad – Yedlin, you’re no Kyle Walker, Hayden you’re no Henderson….

    Our transfer policy, when we’re not hell bent for relegation (Shelvey, Townsend) is to look under rocks for hidden gems or just good honest pros.

    That squad is a list of unearthed gems (Lascelles), good honest pros (Clark, Dummett) and unearthed fool’s gold (Sels, saivet)

    A list to be expected from our transfer policy.

  • mactoon

    “at least three or four more signings to follow Kenedy”

    Bearing in mind we couldn’t afford a reported £20 million for Kenedy I seriously doubt we will be making any major signings, the money simply isn’t there. Any funds from players sold will be paid in up to 5 annual payments so even if they are made available for transfers it won’t amount to much. And, there’s no guarantee Ashley will make the money available.

    • MadMag83

      But the money IS there, Ashley just won’t spend it.

      • mactoon

        Totally agree. I didn’t say we didn’t have it, it simply isn’t there for transfers because Ashley won’t release it.

        He has even gone so far as to use the accounts reflecting our relegation a year ago and a quoted £90 million loss at that time to indicate we don’t have any money for transfers now (conveniently ignoring the £123 million TV money) so don’t expect any big transfers happening anytime soon.

        • MadMag83

          Even that is yet more fabrication from the fat man. He bases that £90m loss on the reduction in TV money from a single season outside of the Premier League (money he never actually lost as he never had it). Now if you think about those words, the club has just survived a season back in the Premier League, so where is the mythical​ £90m profit to spend?

  • Icky (Heaton)

    “The final months of last season saw the first eleven do remarkably well, BUT when it came to trying to give some of them a rest in the final stages… the drop in standard was far too big when replacements came in”

    Sacrilege, how dare thay! Regardless, we should always be ever so EVER grateful for our owner and his increasingly successful running of our beloved club, positivity since day 1, e.g. just look at the magnification Shirt sales increase 👌

    Be warned of what you wish for, just look at the likes of Leeds, blaa blaa blaa and all that aarzz kissing vomit inducing rubbish 🤮 It’s little wonder they had to extend the Season ticket deadline, who’s willing to pay for this dross year after year.

    Fact of the matter is, if Newcastle United had been run competently from day one, a 16 to 40 million player would not be presented as so problematic! Kennedy’s loan (again), which has put a big smile on my miserable face, is simply papering over the cracks.

    A per typical regime tactic of ‘penny wise and pound foolish’ 🤡🤡🤡

    • Duh

      Cheer up marra