'Major reboot needed': Newcastle United's summer transfer plans discussed – Q&A with Liam Kennedy and Jordan Cronin
Summer transfer talk is already on the tip of Newcastle United fans’ tongues with scores of players already linked with a St James’ Park move.
Do Newcastle United need a major reboot or a tweak or two this summer?
LK: “Major reboot is something that is needed if the truth be told but unless there is a new broom sweeps through Tyneside in the very near future then I think we will all have to be content with the tweaks. The centre midfield department needs complete rethink while a forward and defender (both central) are required as a minimum. The full back slots aren’t exactly a well of strength either.”
JC: “If Newcastle had serious money to spend then you’d want a major reboot but to be realistic, a tweak or two is all that is expected. A central defender is needed – likely to be Kristoffer Ajer at the moment – a central midfielder and a back-up striker to Callum Wilson. The United midfield desperately lacks energy and goals, which is why a Willock return is key. If not him, then someone similar. Dwight Gayle just isn’t cutting it for me anymore, though I don’t think he’s been helped by Bruce this season.”
How many players do you think the Magpies should target this summer?
LK: “If United can add at least three players of quality this summer, plus Joe Willock, then I think they will be very happy. Another striker, allowing Andy Carroll and Dwight Gayle to leave, as well as another midfielder and defender to go with the Arsenal man coming back, either permanently or in another loan would be a job well done.”
JC: “Three players, at least. A central defender, (definitely) a box-to-box midfielder and a striker. That’s the bare minimum but it’s always a worry that Newcastle’s won't reach the bare minimum. The summer when only Vurnon Anita arrived still gives me nightmares.”
What does the future hold for Matty Longstaff?
LK: “This is a tough one. If I had to predict, I’d say a loan deal for next season and a possible short contract extension. But it really is impossible to know.”
JC: “If we’re talking about bringing back Willock or a player similar, where does that leave Longstaff? I’m desperate to see the lad have a future on Tyneside because he deserves it but I just can’t see it under Bruce. With just a year left on his contract, things seem very complicated, especially given how he was treated last season.”
Do you believe Newcastle will sell any of their star assets, such as Allan Saint-Maximin?
JC: “I really hope they don’t offload Saint-Maximin because he is quite simply irreplaceable. We all missed Callum Wilson last season but I think Saint-Maximin was the absence that was really felt. I’m not convinced Newcastle will offload any of their stars but the two that spring to mind that should have decent value are Karl Darlow and Jonjo Shelvey. I like Darlow but wouldn’t be against selling him for around £15million – depending on what is happening with Freddie Woodman. If West Ham want to pay £20m+ for Shelvey, a rumour that tends to emerge every summer, then I’d snap their hands off.”
LK: “I don’t think they will. But the thoughts must have run through their heads at some point. With budgets tight, a bid of say £40million plus would probably be enough to turn their heads re an Allan Saint-Maximin, or if one came in for £30million (ish) for Miguel Almiron, for example. But I don’t see it this summer. I think United will choose to keep what they have and box clever in the market, looking for loan deals, free transfers and squeezing as much value as they can out of their reduced summer budget. Players like Kristoffer Ajer are on the list. While deals for the likes of Josh King, Hamza Choudhury, Rob Dickie, Ross Barkley and Eddie Nketiah may also be explored.”