By 90Min
June 30, 2019

It's been a turbulent summer of emotions for Newcastle United fans, elation mixed with despair.

First there were the rumours of a potential takeover from the Bin Zayed Group, only to be followed by the news that manager Rafa Benitez would be leaving the club, along with the rest of his first-team coaching staff. Oh, and, as has become the norm with the Toon - still no news over whether the club will actually be sold.

Benitez was the picture of consistency in the last two seasons, with the Magpies achieving a near identical finish (44 points in 2017/18, 45 in 2018/19) - an impressive feat, but an indication of how the Spaniard was able to get his players to perform well above expectation.

But with Benitez now gone, Newcastle face a daunting summer, with plenty of questions surrounding ownership and whether the Magpies can survive in the league next season. 

Here's our take on what they need to do to stay in the Premier League.


A Proven Striker (Stop Being Cheap & Buy Salomon Rondon)

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The Venezuelan striker was once linked with the likes of Liverpool and was seen as something of a coup when he signed for West Brom. His goal return is not phenomenal but he's an underrated forward and he formed a key part of Newcastle's attack on loan last season, scoring 11 in the league.

Goals have been a problem for the Magpies, they were the lowest scorers in the league outside the bottom four last season with just 42 strikes. As such, they need to do all they can to bring in proven firepower, and with West Brom asking for £16.5 for the Venezuelan, it shouldn't be a problem to bring him back on a permanent deal. But this Newcastle we're talking about, so what did they do? 

Bid £9.5, which was promptly rejected by WBA.

Typical.


A Back-Up Striker

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Newcastle's back up strikers Joselu and Yoshinori Muto got just three goals between them last season. With Ayoze Perez's future in doubt at St James' Park (Newcastle's top scorer last season has been attracting interest from Spain), bringing in a reliable forward is paramount.

Dwight Gayle has already been deemed surplus to requirements having always struggled to make an impact in the top flight. He has a high premium in the Championship though after another strong campaign on loan and Newcastle could hold out for a sizeable fee to reinvest in a striker. 

Danny Welbeck is one player who could fit the bill and would be available on a free. Elsewhere mercurial Chelsea loanee Michy Batshuyi could be an option,  or the Magpies could even make a move to bring Andy Carroll back to Tyneside, after West Ham announced he would be released on the expiry of his contract. 


A Holding Midfield General

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On paper, Newcastle have some decent holding midfielders. But Jonjo Shelvey remains a divisive figure on Tyneside, with his fitness record less than inspiring. Sean Longstaff is the obvious heir apparent to the position, but who knows if he'll be suiting up for the Magpies next season, what with Manchester United interested in his services?

The Magpies really need an experienced player to take charge of that midfield though, someone to hold a position, slow the game down and covert defence to attack.

Luka Milivojevic could fill that role perfectly - he also has an excellent penalty record to boot, scoring 12 times in total last season - though Crystal Palace won't let him go for cheap (or at least what Newcastle deem to be cheap). 


A New Right Back

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Newcastle have shone in defence under Benitez, conceding just 48 goals last season (by far the best outside of the top 10). Of course, that's probably all going to go out of the window next campaign.

If the Magpies are going to attempt to strike a better balance at the attacking end, they're going to need to compensate for the impact on the defensive line. 

Jamal Lascelles is one of the best centre-halves outside the top six and with Fabian Schar alongside him they should be solid enough in the middle of the defence. Matt Ritchie was one of the unsung heroes of the previous campaign, filling in at left back admirably on multiple occasions, and vice-captain Paul Dummett can provide options in either role. 

It's the opposite flank where the Toon seem to have a problem. DeAndre Yedlin is usually first choice at the position, but he's starting to lose his electric pace and is prone to the odd brain fart which has resulted in dumb free kicks and penalties. Javier Manquillo tries hard, but isn't very good. And that's about it.

Needless to say, Newcastle need an experienced player who can bring stability to the defence, such as Nathaniel Clyne, who's been made available by LiverpoolStoke City misfit Moritz Bauer could also fill the role after being inexplicably sidelined last season despite impressing in the Premier League.  

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