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Opinion

Newcastle signing a striker and central defender are necessities not luxuries – 8 days left

4 weeks ago
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Only eight days left for Newcastle United to make two essential signings.

Superficially, you can look at the NUFC squad and think there are plenty of options.

Newcastle United have a lot of quantity but have they got the quality?

Additionally, is this current Newcastle United squad unbalanced, with clear weaknesses in certain positions still?

Goalkeepers

Dubravka, Darlow, Gillespie

Right-backs

Yedlin, Krafth, Manquillo

Left-backs

Dummett, Lewis, Lazaar

Centre-backs

Fernandez, Schar, Clark, Lascelles

Central midfielders

Hayden, Shelvey, Barlaser, Hendrick, Sean Longstaff, Matty Longstaff, Saivet

Attacking midfielders / wingers

ASM, Almiron, Murphy, Atsu, Ritchie, Fraser, Aarons

Centre-forwards

Wilson, Carroll, Joelinton, Gayle

Steve Bruce has already made the point that Newcastle United need to move on players, there are 28 outfield players listed above but only 22 (plus three keepers) can be included in the senior 25 man Premier League squad, that NUFC have to name after the window closes. Matty Longstaff counts as an under 21 so he is on top of that 25 man squad, so ‘only’ the 27 outfield senior players.

I don’t think Newcastle United have anything like enough quality throughout the squad but I think we are ok at goalkeeper and despite having no really good central midfielders, we have enough ok options probably.

As for wingers / attacking midfielders, a similar story. If Steve Bruce allowed a more attacking emphasis then certainly we would see more from Almiron and ASM, plus Fraser once he is fully fit.

Full-backs is still a bit of a mess. Lewis was an essential signing but Dummett simply can’t get / stay fit and it is now heading towards nine months since he last played, putting any reliance whatsoever staying fit, would be foolish. Lazaar isn’t a viable option obviously.

Summing up the lack of balance in this NUFC squad, we have already seen Steve Bruce play three right-backs in the same back four and in truth, none of them are really good enough in their first choice position, never mind using them elsewhere.

Manquillo is a steady back up player and does ok generally at right-back but not good enough really to be first choice. As for Yedlin and Krafth, they aren’t up to it at all.

I think to an extent you can maybe muddle through at full-back and there are far bigger priorities still to sort this window.

Bruce is correct that players need to be moved on but regardless of that, if Newcastle United don’t make these couple of essential signings by close of business on Monday 5 October, then they will be leaving themselves wide open.

For Newcastle to continually struggle to move on players, it can only mean that Mike Ashley is repeatedly refusing to accept reality and do the deals that would move unwanted players on. Every player has his level and price, if priced accordingly then they will be signed up elsewhere.

As for Newcastle United incomings, they 100% need to bring in a striker and a central defender.

If Wilson got injured, Gayle won’t stand any chance of playing before Christmas and has a bad injury record himself, so what would be the alternatives?

Playing a totally immobile Carroll at centre-forward who hasn’t scored a Premier League goal for 30 months now, or Joelinton, who even Steve Bruce now admits isn’t really a centre-forward and isn’t a natural goalscorer?

The other alternative is messing the likes of Almiron and ASM around even more and playing one of them as a false number nine, which is no kind of plan at all.

A striker has to be signed these next eight days.

Same with a central defender.

If either Fernandez or Lascelles gets injured, what would be the alternative(s).

Lejeune has been sent out on loan, Ciaran Clark hasn’t played in the Premier League since February and is now injured again after playing in the League Cup.

Whilst Steve Bruce clearly doesn’t rate Fabian Schar, after 1 January 2020 the Swiss defender was only give four Premier League starts. Two as an emergency midfielder because of no other options due to injury, then two at centre-back when again, injuries forced Bruce’s hand.

Unless Mike Ashley does allow another centre-back to be signed, I can guarantee what will happen. Injury will strike at some point and we will end up with Krafth playing as an emergency central defender. He has already played there in the League Cup and looks no better than he does at right-back.

We are seeing in the Premier League this season far more quality in attack throughout the division, more emphasis on attack and scoring goals and the league is all the better for it.

Newcastle United need to be part of that and as well as adding another goalscorer, they also need that extra central defender signed to cope with the better quality attacking across the Premier League.

I accept any signings may well be loans but on whatever terms they are brought in, NUFC need these two more essential additions.

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