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Opinion

Newcastle United position on new contracts continues to be a worry

3 weeks ago
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With bizarre timing it was before the first game of the season, when Steve Bruce first started talking about getting key players signed up on new contracts as soon as possible.

At that point, the head coach had yet to see any Newcastle player in a competitive match.

Despite this, he introduced the subject at his pre-Arsenal press conference.

In what appeared to be a bit of PR good news story, saying ‘four or five’ and actually naming Ritchie, Dubravka, Lascelles and Hayden.

Steve Bruce – 9 August 2019:

“The club three years ago blew away the Championship. The players brought in were too good for the Championship.

“And those players, five or six of them, are still the nucleus of the squad. They deserve big credit and that is why I want to reward them (with new enhanced contracts).

“I have had a conversation with Lee Charnley and he feels exactly the same too.

“We’ll be sitting down and talking to four or five of them to make sure that cornerstone remains.

“It is vitally important that the ones who have been here, they deserve a big pat on the back.

“They deserve new deals which we need to tie them up to and I think Lee (Charnley) has already spoken to two or three.

“He (Isaac Hayden) has indicated he is willing to sit down and talk to us – I’m delighted of course.

“Him and Matt Ritchie and the goalkeeper and the captain (Jamaal Lascelles), there are probably four or five we want to talk to.”

We sit here 104 days later and the only senior player is Martin Dubravka to have agreed a new contract.

The lack of urgency from Newcastle United on contracts is bizarre, over the course of the entire close season, not a single Newcastle player signed up to an extended deal.

As things stand, this is when the 26 first team squad players see their current deals end:

June 2020 Ki, Carroll, Willems, Fernandez, Manquillo, Elliot, Darlow, Matty Longstaff

June 2021 Clark, Schar, Shelvey, Ritchie, Gayle, Hayden, Yedlin, Atsu

June 2022 Dummett, Muto, Lejeune, Sean Longstaff

June 2023 Krafth

June 2024 Almiron

June 2025 Dubravka, Lascelles, Joelinton, Saint-Maximin

Steve Bruce keeps saying that these things take time when asked about news on players agreeing new contracts but if both parties want it to happen and are in the same ball park when it comes to cash and ambition, what is there to stop new contracts being written up and signed by both parties?

Sean Longstaff has revealed that talks with Newcastle United ended some time ago on a new contract and it was now up to the club, his current deal having been agreed before he’d made a single Premier League appearance.

We all know that Mike Ashley refuses to treat the football club as a long-term project, instead just looking to struggle on season after season.

Hence, no proper investment in the infrastructure, whether that be training complex, St James Park or the Academy.

On the contracts front as well, it all looks very short-term.

As it stands, 16 of the 26 players in the Newcastle United first team squad, aren’t contracted beyond June 2021.

In the last game against Bournemouth, 11 of the 18 man matchday squad aren’t contracted beyond June 2021.

Running down contracts (long-term financial commitments) could be seen as indicating making the club more attractive to potential buyers. However, none of us are counting on that (a sale of the club) happening any time soon…

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