Undrafted – The Network

Newcastle Set for Free-Fall?

Newcastle have bounced between the Championship and the Premiership during Mike Ashley’s tenure. After narrowly avoiding a real relegation battle last season, mainly due to the loan signing of Joe Willock from Arsenal, Newcastle now seem to be staring down the barrel of another drop down into the Championship. (Albeit early days the signs don’t look promising)

This summer was a tough one for both Steve Bruce and the Toon Army. The addition of new fans favourite Willock on a permanent contract was extremely welcome but the fact he was the sole addition to a very stretched Newcastle side is a worry. As shown in recent weeks without Wilson leading the line they are quite a toothless side, especially if Saint-maximin is not firing on all cylinders.

6 games into the season and still without their first win is not the start to the season that an under-fire Bruce needed, but is entirely justifiable when looking at the investment in the team over the past few seasons especially.

As shown on the above images signings have been made over the past 3 seasons but the quality of these are in the main…not great.

Wilson was probably the biggest scoop outside of this years permanent signing of Willock as he brings goals to a side in desperate need of them. The only downside is his injury record is not the best and this is probably a big factor in how Newcastle managed to secure his signature. Dwight Gayle is not a Premier league player, Joelinton, although improved, is not a Premier league player and Almiron for me does not possess the physical attributes to operate as a striker or a winger in the Premiership, the possession of lightning speed is a vital ingredient for Newcastle as they don’t currently see much possession during matches, it is unfortunately not enough without a consistent end product. Other signings mainly consist of other teams cast-offs which have been signed as free transfers, Mr Ashley loves a freebie!

Ultimately the club is in I feel it’s most perilous positions in years, when relegated under Rafa there was a calmness that they would bounce straight back, which they did. Although I don’t feel like Bruce will even be there come the end of the season, I also have very little faith that whoever his replacement is will be of the calibre they would require. Mike Ashley still wants to sell and would probably invest in the squad if required for a championship escape but the likely departures of Wilson, Saint-Maximin, Willock, Almiron and maybe even Lascelles, with what would be left you would struggle to argue they would be in prime position to bounce back.

As a local Gillingham Fc fan I have for some reason always had a soft spot for the Toon Army and I would hate to see them suffer as their local rivals Sunderland have, who are now lingering in the same league as the mighty Gills. It is however now a real possibility that without some clever remedy signings in January, of which I will mention some potentials below, I can really see them suffering in the coming years.

Credit: SkySports

Potential signings

– Ross Barkley (Loan)

Thrived in an Aston Villa sideline last season and clearly out of favour with Tuchel, the deal could be ideal for both parties with Barkley providing some much needed quality in the middle of the park.

– Eddie Nketiah (£15m)

Not valued at Arsenal and clearly looking for a move, Newcastle could test Arsenal with an offer of £15m and bring the talented youngster to the North East. Pacey, Tricky and an eye for goal, everything you would look for in a striker.

– John Egan (£8-10m)

Now I know as a Gills fan I am slightly bias with this choice but Egan has shown to be a more than competent Centre half in the Premiership in a struggling Sheffield United side and would be available at a cheaper rate now they are operating in the Championship. He would certainly be an asset to the back line.

– Olivier Ntcham (£3-5m)

A transfer target for Newcastle this pre-season, before eventually signing for Championship side Swansea, Ntcham would offer the team options in the centre of the park. Happy to operate in a defensive role as well as further forward, Ntcham would be an asset to a Newcastle side with very little midfield strength or depth and you’d expect the cost to be relatively cheap.

– Ben Chilwell (Loan)

A bit of a shot in the dark this one as although he has played only 7mins under Tuchel this season it is unlikely he would be let out on loan, but who knows?! He would of course offer an immediate upgrade on full-back options as well as also allowing himself valuable game time under his belt in the run up to Qatar 2022.

Credit: The Mirror

Now I understand some of the above are not long-term fixes but they would steady the ship for the rest of this season and ultimately provide a much smaller risk than the marquee signings of Rondon or Almiron who have come to the club with big expectations but are ultimately unproven in this league. The same could be said for some of the above but the risk due to the expense required I feel makes them a risk worth taking.

At the end of the day nobody wants to be watching the Tyne-Wear Derby in League one now do they…? Although I wouldn’t mind a Gills Away day up to St James Park?

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