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Opinion

The 6 Newcastle United players who will stay to build the team around next season

6 months ago
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Who are the Newcastle United players you think we can rely on?

Well this summer I think beyond doubt, we are set to see massive squad/team changes, in and out.

You just have to hope that the right ones come in AND go out.

Altogether, there are currently 34 players contracted to Newcastle United that I want you to look at, this includes those out on loan at other clubs from NUFC, as well as those on loan at St James Park.

As things stand, this is when players currently contracted to Newcastle United see their current deals end:

June 2020 Carroll, Willems, Fernandez, Manquillo, Elliot, Darlow, Matty Longstaff, Rose, Bentaleb, Lazaro (Also Colback)

June 2021 Clark, Schar, Shelvey, Ritchie, Gayle, Hayden, Yedlin, Atsu (Also Lazaar, Saivet, Aarons, Murphy, Woodman)

June 2022 Dummett, Muto, Lejeune, Sean Longstaff

June 2023 Krafth

June 2024 Almiron

June 2025 Dubravka, Lascelles, Joelinton, Saint-Maximin

So looking at the above, 24 of the 34 aren’t contracted beyond June 2021.

Or to put it another way, only 10 of the 34 players currently having a contract that has more than 16 months on it.

The end of June 2020, sees 11 Newcastle United players with their current deals ending.

Then end of June 2021 has another 13 of the current contracted players at the end of their deals.

It is absolute madness that Mike Ashley has allowed this situation to develop but this summer is surely the tipping  point, where so many decisions have to be made. Otherwise, if you take it to an extreme, two thirds of the Newcastle squad will end up walking away for zero pounds in transfer fees.

I think (hope) that there is some method hidden away deep amongst the madness.

So whilst Newcastle/Ashley have allowed so many players to depreciate in value instead of cutting deals to maximise transfer fees and/or savings in wages, there MUST be some kind of a plan in place this summer.

This is how I believe/hope it is intended to pan out:

I don’t think any of the four loan deals (Willems, Rose, Bentaleb, Lazaro) will become permanent.

I think there will be a major move to lower the age of the squad, all of the following turn 29 or older by the time we get to the end of next season and I think only Dummett and Dubravka will remain – Age at May 2021 – (29) Dummett, Schar, Shelvey, (30) Gayle, Darlow, (31) Clark, Ritchie, (32) Dubravka, Carroll, Fernandez and (35) Elliot.

Mike Ashley giving out a host of contracts that will take a load of players into their 30s, that just isn’t happening.

Part of the reasoning behind the clearout of some players will be transfer fees, so I expect to see players such as Schar, Ritchie, Hayden, Shelvey, Gayle and others moved on, with one of the factors the money they can generate to fund transfers.

Looking at a small core group of players that can be the base of the team after the changes, I see these six staying:

Dubravka, Almiron, Lejeune, Lascelles, Saint-Maximin and Sean Longstaff.

Obviously not all of the rest of the squad will leave.

I expect Joelinton to obviously still be here as no way Mike Ashley will accept defeat so quickly.

Hopefully Freddie Woodman will agree an extension and stay to battle with Dubravka for top spot.

I think it is in the balance with Matty Longstaff, with surely Ashley agreeing to at least go some way to reward him for his progress and offer an acceptable contract.

You just hope that the NUFC owner belatedly realises that at times you have to take a hit to clear out players who are never going to make it in the Premier League – a real need to this summer move on the likes of Muto, Aarons, Lazaar, Saivet, Murphy, Muto and one or two more.

The past year has been a real disaster in reshaping the squad. Mike Ashley failing to allow the deals to move on so many unwanted players, whilst only three of the eight players signed in these last two windows have contracts beyond June 2020, plus they include Krafth (and Joelinton…).

Back in summer 2016, out of necessity Rafa Benitez was forced to do an enormous amount of business. 12 signings including Atsu who came on loan and became a permanent signings, with far more than a dozen players leaving in that window after relegation.

We need a similar scale of change this summer.

Having just been persuaded to sign a new contract, Rafa Benitez was given the freedom that summer to do the necessary.

The big question now is whether the combined talents of Ashley, Charnley and Bruce can do the same this summer?

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