Liam Kennedy ranks Newcastle United's summer signings' performances so far – and all bar one has question marks!

Newcastle United made FIVE senior summer signings at the start of the 2012/21 campaign – and with international football very much on the agenda this week, our writer Liam Kennedy has had a go at rating their progress so far.

The Magpies brought in Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser, Jeff Hendrick, Jamal Lewis and Mark Gillespie in Steve Bruce’s first full summer in charge – even if again he didn’t have full say on who came through the doors at St James’s Park.

Here’s each one of that quintet ranked on FIVE separate scales – performance, value for money and progress/potential.

Callum Wilson – £20m – from AFC Bournemouth

Newcastle United's English striker Callum Wilson (C) warms up ahead of the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Newcastle United at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on November 6, 2020.

Performance: 9/10

We really could not have asked much more of our striker. He has been feeding off scraps, yet has six Premier League goals, as many as top scorer Jonjo Shelvey got last season. A proper centre-forward. The focal point of this team.

Value for money: 9/10

Easily United’s most expensive recruit of the summer – actually ranks as the third highest fee they’ve paid. The second highest they’ve paid as an up front fee. But still, even with all of that, he’s ranked incredibly in the VFM stakes. Pay proven Premier League prices, you get proven Premier League quality, who’d have thought it?

Progress/potential: At 29 potential is not really something you can talk about in the traditional sense but there really is so much room for improvement with Wilson – and that’s the exciting thing. Wilson just needs to keep doing what he does, it’s the team around him who must improve. And if they do, Newcastle’s frontman could easily be a 30-goal man, never mind the 20 he’s aiming to get.

Ryan Fraser – Free agent

Performance: 3/10

We’ve just not seen it from him yet – and that’s such a shame. Fraser is one of the three Newcastle signings who could take them on to the next level, but his lack of fitness has really seen him play a back seat. And now he’s injured. Typical.

Value for money: 7/10

For me, he was the best value free transfer in the English market this summer. At the moment though, he is definitely a work in progress.

Progress/potential: Fraser, I’m sure, will make a big impact at United, but he needs to get back fit and into Steve Bruce’s first-team plans. He signed a long-term deal and talks like he wants to really make his mark at SJP. The best is yet to come.

Jeff Hendrick – Free agent – from Burnley

Performance: 5/10

A solid show at West Ham and a decent (ish) one against Everton is about it for the former Burnley man. Sean Dyche did not want to lose him and to be honest it is difficult to see why he was so attached to the player. He was abject last time out against Southampton, but he was not alone on that front.

Value for money: 5/10

Another one who was much sought after in the summer, although I am not at all sure how close AC Milan or Manchester United ever came to signing him. Cost nothing, but has also added little.

Progress/potential: It’s been a tough start for Hendrick in black and white, but he really is a player who I believe we have not seen the best of yet. He is not a holding midfielder by trade, neither is he a right-sided player. He is a No.8 in midfield but has not been allowed to play that role. Only when he has a run in that role will be know if we have a player or not.

Mark Gillespie – Free agent – from Motherwell

Performance: 6/10

Restricted purely to Carabao Cup performances, former Scottish Premiership keeper Gillespie has, in the main, impressed. He had a wobble against Newport County but was confident, came for everything and showed outstanding distribution against Blackburn Rovers and Morecambe previous to that.

Value for money: 7/10

I think Karl Darlow’s increased performance levels have a lot to do with the increased competition from Gillespie.

Progress/potential: A Geordie, who supports the club and wants to play for NUFC – could you get a better No.3 in the goalkeeper department? Gillespie is the type who could spend a long time on Tyneside, and be happy if he doesn’t seem the amount of games in a season he’s used to.

Jamal Lewis – £15m – from Norwich City

Performance: 6/10

It’s been a mixed bag from the Northern Irish international. Some positive performances have been book-ended with some poor ones, see Southampton. But his performances have pretty much followed the same course as the team – unpredictable. Looks a threat when United have enough of the ball to pressure the opposition.

Value for money: 5/10

Newcastle shelled out a big fee for the player, and so far he is yet to repay that. But it is very early days.

Progress/potential: Lewis still has a lot to learn. But he’s shown positive progress since arrival. Much of that seems to be down to the switch in system – Lewis looks much more comfortable in the more advanced role of wingback than he ever did in a flat four. At 21, there’s lots of room to grow for this youngster. Needs to brush up on his defensive work, but some decent coaching will improve that no end. His forward work is decent and you can see why Liverpool took a good look at him in the summer.