Newcastle United's uncertain 11 – who will get a new Magpies deal, and who won't?

ELEVEN Newcastle United players find themselves out of contract at the end of the current Premier League season – and some big decisions lie in wait for the Magpies hierarchy and Steve Bruce in the next few months.

Thursday, 17th December 2020, 12:30 pm

Who will go and who will stay? Our writer Liam Kennedy has taken a look at the 11 and assessed which are likely to be shown the door, and which will be given new terms.

Ciaran Clark – 6/10

It’s easy to see why Bruce likes the Irishman so much. Clark is a solid performer, does his defensive work well, looks at home in a four and is a threat in the opposition box. The best all rounder in the United squad – and that might be enough to see him agree new terms ahead of his deal coming to an end.

Newcastle United's English midfielder Jacob Murphy (R) celebrates after scoring the equalising goal during the English Premier League football match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Newcastle United at the Molineux stadium in Wolverhampton, central England on October 25, 2020.

Fabian Schar – 4/10

A player who doesn’t seem to fit in Bruce’s plans, much like Florian Lejeune who was allowed to leave on loan in the summer.

A supremely talented footballer with ball at feet, Schar rose to prominence after the last World Cup and was snapped up by Rafa Benitez for a cut-price fee.

One of United’s best performers in his first campaign, Schar has failed to replicate those consistent performances recently – and Bruce has used him sparingly when Jamaal Lascelles, Ciaran Clark and Fede Fernandez are fit.

He’s a quality performer, so could come back from this, but at this stage he looks to heading out the door at the end of the season. Nothing is certain, mind.

Federico Fernandez – 7/10

Of all the players whose deals are up, the Argentine is the one who Bruce rates the highest. In a recent press conference the manager described the player as one of his ‘favourites’ in the Newcastle squad.

An excellent pro, who has barely missed a minute of football and produces top class defensive displays on a consistent basis, Fernandez is one of the first names on the teamsheet at United.

It is hard to see Bruce wanting to let one of the foundations of his team go at the end of the season.

Jacob Murphy – 5/10

This one could really go either way.

Murphy is liked by Bruce, but hasn’t made the explosive impact the manager may have hoped for.

In his position, a winger, the manager has selected a host of others ahead of him – but to Murphy’s credit he’s made a name for himself on the right of a back five, and done so ably, when called upon to do so.

Championship clubs and Rangers all like the player and may well field offers in the January window. With squad places tight, it will be interesting to see if United bite.

Dwight Gayle – 6/10

An interesting one.

He’s on big money but doesn’t play enough. Scores goals but can’t be relied upon. Is probably one of United’s most in form players but is the wrong side of 30.

Manager Bruce says he will do everything he can to keep Gayle at United – but will the current hierarchy, or any waiting in the wings, agree?

It’s hard to see Gayle getting the same kind of cash he is on now – which has priced him out of moves to the Championship – on another medium-term deal at United.

A short-term deal might be in the offing though – and the player is likely to accept.

Andy Carroll – 3/10

Taking this season into account it is hard to make a case for Carroll to stay at United.

Yet to score a goal and having a lessening impact on first-team affairs – his last start was against Newport County in the Carabao Cup – Carroll’s main hope of an extended stay is his experience, defensive work and attitude around the place.

You’d imagine if United could upgrade they would, even though Carroll is a cheap third striker option off the bench.

DeAndre Yedlin – 1/10

The USA international’s days are numbered at Newcastle United.

A half decade’s solid service is set to come to an end when the summer rolls around.

Links to the MLS and to Germany have cropped up in passing – and it would be no surprise to see the flamboyant American try his hand on the continent.

The others – United’s forgotten four

Newcastle United have four further senior players in and around their first-team pool who are out of contract in the summer – and it’s unlikely any will get to wear black and white again, on the senior stage at least.

Christian Atsu is probably the most high-profile of the foursome, having played a significant, if steadily decreasing part in United’s recent campaigns.

This summer Steve Bruce took the decision to cut him out altogether, choosing Murphy over the Ghana international.

Atsu, like Henri Saivet, Achraf Lazaar and Rolando Aarons, will be jockeyed out the St James’s Park exit door in the summer, if not amount of coaxing can see them depart next month.

While Atsu can be described as a hard-working, solid signing, the others have massive faults. Aarons fell by the wayside under Rafa Benitez and never really came close to getting back. He is likely to end up at Huddersfield Town, probably in the winter window.

Saivet and Lazaar can only be classed as long-term burdens on the club’s wage bill. Neither has shown anything to suggest they deserve a revaluation of their talents. Continent also rans await.

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