Could this Newcastle United team line-up surprise this season?
It will be a relief when we can finally have some football to watch.
The agonies of this summer transfer window have been well covered and little more needs to be said, although I would add that I have no confidence in Mike Ashley allowing us any late positivity in these remaining hours before the Thursday 5pm deadline.
As for the owner himself, like every other Newcastle fan I just wish this blight on our club was at an end.
Instead, the weekend will see the NUFC supporters having no other option than to take the protests up another notch, with demonstrations planned pre-match outside the Sports Direct store in the city centre.
As for Rafa Benitez, he must wondering just exactly he was thinking when agreeing to take on a Newcastle United team back in March 2016, that already had one foot in the Championship.
Not only that but then at the end of that season, the Spaniard agreed to stay on and try to get instant promotion.
Up as champions and then tenth in the Premier League, what could possibly go wrong?
Truth is, that after that very first (summer 2016) transfer window, when Rafa got his Championship promotion players and Mike Ashley got a £40m transfer profit, the transfer windows have been all one way traffic.
Despite Mike Ashley, rather than because of his ‘help’ Rafa Benitez has got on with the job.
This window just as disappointing as the previous three in terms of backing from the owner.
However, has Rafa maybe just managed to pluck a team from amidst the transfer window wreckage, that could just maybe even improve on last season’s tenth?
I think the odds are very much against it but once things have settled, I look at this team below and just wonder if they could deliver…
Obviously a massive amount depends on how quickly Rondon and Muto fit in and how good they prove to be.
Without quality strikers/goalscorers we found out just how difficult that makes things.
I do look and I see a big upgrade on Gayle and Perez, which gives me hope.
The big weakness of course is if injuries come along, as Newcastle have almost no real decent cover throughout the team/squad.
Darlow could do ok in small spells if Dubravka was missing, whilst Ki Sung-yueng should be able to deputise in the centre of the pitch, but beyond that, I just can’t see it.
The thought of Rondon missing and Joselu ending up playing anywhere as often as last season, brings me out in a cold sweat.
At centre-back we looked relatively ok with Clark and Schar as back-up to Lascelles and Lejuene but with the Frenchman out for all/most of the season now, Clark needs to step up on last season and/or Fabian Schar has to prove a lot better than his £3m price tag, if playing regularly.
Rafa Benitez is said to be desperate to make two more defensive signings before 5pm tomorrow and if he could get an attacking left-back in to compete with Dummett, as well as a centre-back who would look good enough to be first choice, then that improves the picture significantly.
Good luck Rafa!
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