It’s been a long, tough summer for Newcastle United fans as the Geordie nation comes to terms with the loss of Rafael Benitez. Steve Bruce has been appointed in his place and his side are next up on our Premier League preview list.
State of play
Newcastle fans have endured one hell of a summer this year – the fans are divided, Rafa has gone to China, Steve Bruce is the new man in charge and worst of all – Mike Ashley still hasn’t sold up.
Despite all that, they’ve been quite active in the transfer market in the last few weeks with the Magpies having broken their own transfer record for the second time in less than a year. Brazilian forward Joelinton (£40million) has joined the club from Hoffenheim, winger Allan Saint-Maximin (£16million) has come from Nice, Dutch left-back Jetro Willems (LOAN) has joined from Frankfurt and they look set to announce the signing of right-back Emil Krafth (£5million) from Amiens too.
Despite that, sections of the fan base are still unhappy with their club – understandably so too. There are plenty of protests planned, with quite a lot of fans even planning to partake in boycotts until Ashley sells up. If his interview last week is anything to go by, they could be boycotting for quite some time.
Pre-season for Newcastle has been pretty decent – in their five games, they’ve managed three wins. The victories came against West Ham, Hibernian and Saint-Etienne while the other two games saw losses against Wolves and Preston. NUFC start their season this weekend at home to Arsenal – a game which has been heavily targeted by the fan groups as they encourage fans to “stay away”.
Signing of the Summer
This one was actually quite difficult for me but in the end I’ve settled on Joelinton. It was a close call between him and the exciting young winger Allan Saint-Maximin, but I believe Joelinton will be the most important player at the club this year.
The Brazilian is a striker who is used to playing behind the likes of Andrej Kramaric at Hoffenheim – being used primarily to bring his teammates into play. However, at Newcastle he’ll have a slightly different role – a one where he will be the main man, where he’ll be expected to score the goals – especially wearing that famous number nine shirt. It’s certainly not beyond him either – his tall frame, raw athleticism and skill on the ball make him a daunting opponent for any Premier League defender. He’ll do the job.
Survival is the most important thing for the club this season – if they get relegated again, I think they’ll struggle to come straight back up the way they have the last two times it happened. I would say they’ve brought in a man who specialises in keeping teams in the Premier League, but a relegation last time he managed in this league says I’d be lying.
Maybe I’m just being optimistic, but I don’t see Newcastle getting relegated this season. Although I wouldn’t go as far to say they have a strong squad, they do have some good players. Keeping hold of the likes of Fabian Schar, Martin Dubravka, Isaac Hayden and especially Sean Longstaff will prove to be very important. All four of those players will have a big role to play if the Magpies are to stay in the league this season.
In my personal opinion, Newcastle will just about survive. It won’t be plain sailing and they won’t be able to breathe easy until the season comes to an end BUT, they should stay in the league. It’s just important that at some point in the future, the club start actually trying to compete – rather than just bumbling along collecting £100m TV money every year – sooner or later, they’ll be punished for that… AGAIN.
*All transfer information taken from https://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/newcastle-united/transfers/verein/762