What would be your Newcastle United team to start the season?
Yes we all expect more new signings to arrive, as well as other players leaving, but you just never know for sure with Mike Ashley.
He has form.
This transfer window we are constantly being told that Rafa being able to sign the players he wants to bring in, largely depends on the manager being able to move out those currently here.
With only 25 days until transfer deadline, how can any of us say for sure that any of the unwanted players will leave, or any of Rafa’s targets landed.
Both Matz Sels and Chancel Mbemba are still with Newcastle United despite being set to be sold some six weeks ago.
Mbemba reported to be still here due to Mike Ashley refusing to accept a million less than he wants and what Porto are willing to pay, whilst with Matz Sels it as claimed only half a million difference in valuations stopped him signing for Anderlecht.
Aleksandar Mitrovic is assumed to be heading out but last summer Ashley demanded at least £16m, making it impossible for the striker to be sold and Rafa to use the money to buy a forward that he does want to pay.
With goals for Fulham and a decent World Cup, you do have to wonder just how much the NUFC owner will demand now for the Serbian international.
So if we get a no deal Newcastle United for the rest of the transfer window, what are we left with?
I would suggest this Newcastle United team from what we would have available:
Last season Rafa Benitez toyed at times with a three/five at the back and I think it could work, with Yedlin and Kenedy ideal as wing-backs.
With Dummett joining Lejeune and Lascelles as one of three centre-backs, why couldn’t Newcastle have similar success to England with this system?
At the opposite end of the pitch I would play Mitrovic and with these wing-backs I think it could help get the service to the striker that he needs, with crosses into the box.
Ayoze Perez finished the season well but I still don’t think he is a first choice player in the Premier League.
With Dwight Gayle, he did have a disappointing goals return last season but in most matches he was left very isolated. He would be helped by also having Mitro up there and Gayle’s workrate means he can act as a second striker and help tracking back.
Diame and Shelvey are no-brainers in the middle and by using wing-backs, it could allow Ritchie to play in the middle and/or have a free role to help support the strikers, as well as his usual excellent defensive work.
I’m not claiming this would be an ideal outcome but with Mike Ashley, managers have had to become used to working within limitations.
I think this Newcastle United team above could hold its own but like the rest of you, I am desperate for some better quality to be added in the next three and a half weeks.