Newcastle United already know their four major summer transfer decisions
Whilst there was no squad overhaul of the likes we saw this time last year, Newcastle did move some players on from the club, freshening the squad up with a couple of new faces.
Harrison Ashby and Anthony Gordon were the new arrivals, ending months of speculation surrounding their respective futures at West Ham and Everton.
The winter window may have just closed, however, work will be going on behind-the-scenes at preparing for the summer window - one that could prove to be a transformative period for the club.
No.6 and unleashing Bruno
One of their biggest priorities this summer will be to sign a midfielder that can operate in a ‘number six’ role. The ideal midfielder for this position would be someone who was comfortable on the ball and can dictate the tempo of games but who is unafraid to get stuck-in and do all the unfashionable work at the base of the midfield.
Scott McTominay of Manchester United and Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans have both been suggested as players that could fill this role and be people that could allow Bruno Guimaraes to flourish alongside. The Brazilian is capable of operating as a ‘number six’, but has shown he is very effective when given more freedom to influence the play in the opposition’s box, something he is slightly restricted doing whilst in his current role.
Martin Dubravka’s future following Manchester United loan
Nick Pope’s stunning form in goal for Newcastle means Dubravka will have to settle for a spot on the bench for the remainder of the campaign. After suffering the same fate whilst at Manchester United, it’s likely that the 34-year-old will want to get back to regular first-team football next season.
That probably won’t be achieved at St James’s Park and so the Slovakian may be allowed to leave the club when the transfer window eventually reopens.
Continuing to streamline the squad
Two of the Magpies’ top-earners in Jonjo Shelvey and Chris Wood left the club last month. Their departures, although largely unexpected, have allowed Newcastle to offload their wages, trim their squad and lower the average age of the group. All of these things will help towards their Financial Fair Play restrictions.
However, with the potential for European football qualification this season, Newcastle will need to avoid the temptation to cut down their squad numbers too much. A run in Europe will require a big squad and mean that they have to approach the summer transfer window with a clear vision of how the size and profile of Howe’s squad come the end of the window.
Contract decisions for quintet
Five players have entered the final few months of their current contract at St James’s Park, however, the club have likely already made their minds up over their respective futures. Of the five, only Matt Ritchie has featured in the Premier League this season. Loris Karius, Mark Gillespie and Matty Longstaff haven’t featured at all for the Magpies whilst Paul Dummett has just a solitary Carabao Cup appearance to his name.