Which Newcastle United players are you counting on this season?
At the moment Rafa Benitez has 25 senior players, although we all naturally hope there will be significant moves in and out in these next 8 days until transfer deadline.
Yoshinori Muto is just waiting for his work permit which would take us back up to 26 senior players.
However, Wednesday morning has seen claims that Henri Saivet is heading to Turkey on loan.
So I have settled on these 25 Newcastle United players at the moment, with Muto included and Saivet out.
I have rated the squad from top to bottom in terms of most valuable, that is not necessarily in terms of potential transfer valuation, instead it is what I believe their value to the club/Rafa this coming season.
That of course also takes into account a lack of strength in depth in certain positions, plus of course we are all hoping that more new signings will come in who would go to the very top of this list…
Move valuable Newcastle United players for 2018/19 season:
Rob Elliot, Javier Manquillo, Jamie Sterry, Achraf Lazaar, Jacob Murphy, Rolando Aarons, Joselu
This last group of seven players, I don’t really have any opinion on, other than I don’t think any of them are good enough. None of them, for my money, able to offer anything to the first team this coming season.
At the other end of the spectrum though, easy to select Jamaal Lascelles as NUFC’s most valuable, the stats when he was and wasn’t playing last season say it all.
In fact, I would say the whole half dozen at the top of this list were very easy to select, based on last season.
Dubravka and Kenedy came in and transformed our fortunes at both ends of the pitch, whilst the centre midfield and centre of defence were the solid foundations on which Premier League survival was achieved.
On that basis, it is gutting to have already lost my sixth highest choice, Florian Lejeune, who is set to miss most, if not all, of the season with a cruciate ligament injury.
After that half dozen, I am going with the largely unknown quantity of Muto, though surely he will be able to offer more than any of our current striking options.
I have Dwight Gayle at number eight but much of that is due to the fact that he is still our only out and out striker who could potentially score goals. That situation must surely change, but there again we said that last season, then ended up with Joselu in the summer and then an injured Slimani on loan in January.
Matt Ritchie and Paul Dummett are next up, two very steady players who have zero competition for their places.
Ciaran Clark is maybe a little higher due to now knowing that Lejeune is now out, Rafa will almost certainly use him ahead of waiting to see how Schar can adapt to the Premier League.
Ki Sung-yueng and Ayoze Perez feature next on my list, two players who are set to be back-up as Rafa tries to build some sort of strength in depth on limited funds.
When you then throw in Atsu, Darlow and Hayden that gets you up to a matchday 18 (17 without Florian Lejeune), although both the first team and that overall matchday squad could do with some more serious investment in this transfer window.
Whether that happens could well decide our fate this season.