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