Newcastle Squad Looks So Much Stronger Now


Now’s a good time to look and see just how good our squad is (or isn’t), following the closing of the January transfer window.

Colin and Chris have made a difference at Newcastle this season

Most Newcastle fans, from what we can tell, seem quite satisfied with the dealings we made last month.

And while we haven’t seen too much of the new signings, they’ve impressed so far.

It looks like we signed four players, Williamson, Simpson, Routledge and Best for about £3M total.

That’s good business, but the question will be if these players can step up to Premiership for next season, if we indeed get promoted.

Right now, we just don’t know, but it seems the club’s strategy is to sign the best available in the Championship, and maybe hope that some will come through next season.

Our squad is a lot stronger than it was before January came along, that’s for sure.

We signed Fitz Hall on loan through the end of the season, and 19 year-old Dutch U-19 International Patrick van Aanhold from Chelsea, on a month’s loan to step in until Enrique recovers from his hamstring injury.

We wonder aloud if a 2M bid from Newcastle for this player would be accepted by the London club – would they be that daft?

If Fitz Hall looks good at Newcastle through the summer, it wouldn’t surprise us if Newcastle try to sign the QPR center-back as a squad player. We could get him for a small fee.

Newcastle must get a specialized left-back in to give Jose Enrique some competition (how long have we been saying that?), and he himself has said he would welcome some competition at the club.

Here’s the squad we have right now

Goalkeepers: Harper, Krul, Fraser Forster (on loan at Norwich for the season)

Central defenders: Coloccini Taylor (S) Williamson Hall (loan) Kadar

Full backs: Simpson Taylor (R) Enrique van Aanholt (loan)

Central midfielders: Nolan Smith Barton Guthrie Butt

Wingers: Gutierrez Pancrate Routledge

Strikers: Best Carroll Ameobi Lovenkrands Ranger

We’ve left a lot of  our up-and-coming youngsters out of the squad, so we can concentrate on the experienced players, which we’ll need if we make it to the Premier League next year.

The squad looks strong, but we are short at full-back and must bring in a specialized left-back at least, as we’ve already mentioned

If  Mike Williamson proves to be as good as he looks initially, it may be Newcastle will play Steven Taylor at right back.

Taylor (S) Coloccini Williamson and Enrique looks quite strong as a Premier League back four.

We expect Nicky Butty to retire in the summer, and we don’t expect Newcastle to give Fabrice Pancrate a new contract.

We also think that 5 strikers is too many, and Newcastle may try to sell one and bring in a new striker.

Ameobi would be the likely one to depart.

With Pancate’s contract not expected to be renewed, we’d need to bring in at least one new winger.

And since we really lack creativity in central midfield, we will need to bring in a  good central mid-field play-maker.

So it would appear we need to bring in the following new players:

Left-back
Central midfield
Winger
Striker

That’s the very least in signings we would need to make this summer, if we are promoted, and they must be very good players.

Let us know what you think the club should be doing in the summer – and assume we will get promoted – just an assumption at this point.

Comments very welcome.



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34 comments so far

  • midjew-toon

    Feb 7, 2010 at 1:02 PM

    Comment #1

    Ed I think u are spot on.
    Def need a great Lb, Am, St and Winger

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  • hayward223

    Feb 7, 2010 at 1:23 PM

    Comment #2

    I agree with you Ed, van Aanholt looks an excellant prospect and id love us to sign him and Fitz Hall would be a good signing at 4th choice.

    I personally would sell:

    Ryan Taylor
    Butt (retire)
    Smith
    Pancrate (Release)
    Ameobi

    Sign:
    RB –
    LB – van Aanholt/Belhadj
    CM – Skjelbred
    CM – Damien Plessis
    LW
    RW
    CF

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  • GeordieMeerkat

    Feb 7, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    Comment #3

    If Barton doesn’t perform in the second half of this season and Ledley doesn’t sign on with Cardiff then that’s one replacement we should make and given Cardiff’s financial situation that’s entirely possible.

    I’d replace Butt with Skjelbred, retain Hall and van Aanholt (if Chelsea won’t sell then Hedenstad is a very good option also) and Colo can return to Spain with Onouha coming in to add some real pace (and more strength) to central defence.

    That would provide pace down the middle whilst still giving a solid backbone to the team in addition to some creativity from Ledley and Skjelbred who could also compete with Routledge and Jonas for their places on the wings.

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  • Fozzy

    Feb 7, 2010 at 2:06 PM

    Comment #4

    Butt, Ryan Taylor and Pancrap are not good enough for next year, let alone this year. I would also like to see Ameobi replaced. A creative center mid needs to come, i would say that we need to ship out one of the current midfielders – and i’m not sure which one. Maybe Barton if he doesn’t finally deliver this season. A full back who can play left or right back would be good, ryan taylor needs to be replaced (Not sure about Belhadj Hayward, but if Aanholt carries on doing well then we should make a move for him, atleast get the loan deal extended till the end of the season if he continues to do well) . Need a winger and a striker.

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  • ende

    Feb 7, 2010 at 2:21 PM

    Comment #5

    @hayward223, I would keep R Taylor. He’s an excellent utility player, you can pretty much stick him anywhere. He’d be on my bench every week.

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  • 2_goal_tino

    Feb 7, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    Comment #6

    The question is who do we sell?
    Our central midfield is verysolid i.e we have 4 players who are good, solid players but nothing spectacular! We desperately need someone creative in midfield but can’t have 5 players. Barton- has been injured and hasn’t performed. But still overall the best CM we have in my opinion. Smith- passionate, hardworking and our best defensively minded CM. Nolan- done the vital thing of score goals this season, but in reality done very little else! Guthrie- most creative one, doesn’t get a chance when the other 3 are fit in CM so plays on the wing, where he’s pretty weak, plays in cm against Cardiff and we dominate. It depeends on how Barton playswhen he is back, whether it is him or Nolan who should go in my opinion. Though at present i’d say Nolan.

    Strikers is where we will struggle most next year absolutely no doubt! I’ve always liked Shola, even in the prem, but we all know he’s not going to score regularly then. Carroll- i’m sorry i just don’t rate, sure the lad did great on Friday but that performance has been long in the coming! He’s been repeatedly linked with stoke etc. and if there are any substantial offers 3-4m i’d take them. Best- i don’t know why we signed him, i know it is early in his toon career but i’ve seen a lot of him in other seasons and he is average. He is certainly no better than Shola. Ranger and Loven are the only two i’d definitely keep.

    Anyway, let’s worry about all this in the summer. Let’s just enjoy the rest of the season and try to cross the finishing line. Let’s be proud of the lads who are doing well at the moment and worry about their shortcomings at a later date.

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  • Rotonda heights

    Feb 7, 2010 at 2:52 PM

    Comment #7

    I think if Chris Hughton has the courage to drop Butt (and maybe even Smith,) start with 2 wingers and keep Guthrie in the middle, we could see more Cardiff and less Leicester performances.

    It would be great if we could keep van Arnholt permanently but I think it would take way more than 2M sadly. Still he’s not going to get a game with Ashley Cole first choice, so maybe try and extend the loan a la Mancienne at Wolves ( he seems to have been there ages.)

    Skeljbred and this 18 year old Norwegian fullbacks would be great, especially if they are NUFC fans.

    Outs have to be Butt and Pancrate.

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  • boater

    Feb 7, 2010 at 3:45 PM

    Comment #8

    Law of diminishing Returns. In other words, what we have now is a decent set of players whom I reckon could well represent a survival season in the premiership- in order to build on that, key investment in 2 or 3 TOP additions will have to be made. As everyone has said – central attacking flair player in the Beardsley mould would be nice – a fulcrum around which our attacks our based – Dyer was that for us for years – like him or not.

    However, what you have to factor in is the solidarity and keenness which Hughton has introduced… remind yourselves of the years of acrimony which led to good players like Jenas, Zog, Given, Faye being DESPERATE to leave no matter where. Simpson being so keen to stay is very revealing about the amazing work hughton
    has done on morale. What’s more – that positive kind of environment is very important for players to thrive or develop – the early signs are that Routledge, Carroll, Loven, Enrique, are already playing in a way that shows how happy and focused the squad is. Hopefully we will see that with the development of Ranger and the other younguns.

    In other words, happy environment = players coming good.. & we haven’t had that since SBR…

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  • skiptoon

    Feb 7, 2010 at 4:42 PM

    Comment #9

    It’s good to be in a position where we think we will be in the prem next year. With some of the top Championship and bottom Premiership clubs failing financially, I don’t think we’ll need many new faces to stay up next year. The ones we get will need to be some of our best players though.
    GK – Harper (Krul, Forster)
    CB – Taylor & Coloccini (Williamson, Kadar)
    RB – Simpson (Taylor R)
    LB – Enrique (Buy 1, Tozer)
    Def Mid – Smith (Buy 1)
    Att Mid – Buy 1 (Nolan)
    R Wing – Routledge (Buy 1)
    L Wing – Gutierrez (Buy 1)
    Strikers – Ameobi & Buy 1 (Carrol, Best)
    Squad players – Guthri, Lovenkrands, Lua Lua
    Out – Butt, Pancrate, Barton!!, Ranger

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  • Edd Case

    Feb 7, 2010 at 5:03 PM

    Comment #10

    Haha Ed

    “We also think that 5 strikers is too many, and Newcastle may try to sell one and bring in a new striker”.

    Hehe, if we have five, sell on to bring in a new one, we’d still have….erm, FIVE! Haha – nice one Ed.

    I know what you mean though, I think Shola’s time will be up and Lovenkrands is also a winger.

    So for the Prem, Best, Carroll, Ranger and ?

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  • NewcastleMole

    Feb 7, 2010 at 6:19 PM

    Comment #11

    @skiptoon
    Ameobi as a Premiership striker?
    In 9 Seasons he scored 32 League goals at a Ratio of 1 every 5.94 games.

    Carroll is a Better target striker as he is far superior in the Air.

    @Ed & Edd Case
    We’ll have 6 Strikers when Xisco’s loan ends.

    Don’t expect much money to be made available for new signings (if Ashley stays). Possibly looking at 8m Max + Money from sales.

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  • Edd Case

    Feb 7, 2010 at 6:33 PM

    Comment #12

    8 million and we’ll just be in trouble again.

    Unless we have a squad that play for each other and dig out results, I’m afraid our current lot wont be good enough.

    The ‘core’ of the team might be ok, but that’s not enough for the PL.

    Fatty will no doubt sell anyway. Still asking for £100 million I reckon.

    In fact, I bet in the ‘business world’ that we arent privvy to, I bet the club is still for sale.

    Fatty will not pump in more than £10 million for transfers, leaving us in the same position as before. Sell, sell and more sell.

    Then we’ll only end up buying in players that other top PL clubs dont want.

    Shame like, but I can only see that as our future for now.

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  • Joey Barton 666

    Feb 7, 2010 at 7:01 PM

    Comment #13

    We aren’t out of the championship yet and alot of you are spouting your negative bollocks after we just smashed Cardiff 5-1, if we go unbeaten this month with 3 wins, I could see us getting to the 80 point mark v quickly then on.

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  • SGToon

    Feb 7, 2010 at 7:13 PM

    Comment #14

    On the subject of incomings and outgoings, I’m looking at the bigger picture when I say this – Chris Hughton isnt a PL calibre manager… although results are looking good for the club now in the fizzy pop league, the Premier League is to an extent a different ballgame. I’m not convinced CH has what it takes to be as successful and influential (in terms of getting class acts to join), as he has in the coca cola.

    What do you guys think? Is CH the right man for the job in the PL, in the event that we do get promoted?

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  • MacToon

    Feb 7, 2010 at 7:16 PM

    Comment #15

    If promoted we’ll need to invest or we’ll be a struggling prem team again.

    Harper, S Taylor, Colo, Enrique,Jonas and maybe Nolan and/or Barton could be in a good starting prem team but who else?

    Routledge maybe.

    IMO certainly not Smith or Butt, hopefully there’ll be more to add to the list by the end of the season. I’ve not added any strikers because I hope some now will stand out and shine before the end of the season like Loven is atm.

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  • MacToon

    Feb 7, 2010 at 7:18 PM

    Comment #16

    SGToon, I have my doubts about Hughton managing a prem team but would be happy to be proved wrong.

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  • Joey Barton 666

    Feb 7, 2010 at 7:19 PM

    Comment #17

    Sgtoon- keep him untill proven I say.

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  • SGToon

    Feb 7, 2010 at 7:27 PM

    Comment #18

    Personally being an optimist, I’d like to be proven wrong as well regarding CH’s PL managerial credentials. The fat slob wouldnt open his tight pursestrings to get rid of CH either.
    I predict CH will be given a season in the PL to prove his worth, if we do get promoted.

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  • Tom Mo.

    Feb 7, 2010 at 8:06 PM

    Comment #19

    SGtoon, you are right. However, the thing we need at newcastle is stability and that might mean keeping hughton for at least another year. He might not be the best manager but we cannot keep the carousel going, that’s why we struggle and are a laughing stock all the time. just need a little stability

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  • NewcastleMole

    Feb 7, 2010 at 8:18 PM

    Comment #20

    Hughton has done a decent job and if we go up prob deserves to be manager.

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  • Elfy_Toon

    Feb 7, 2010 at 9:08 PM

    Comment #21

    i think hughton has what it takes to keep us in the prem, i think your all being a little overly critical about how gd our squad is compared to other squads in the prem, mayb not the best or newhere near what we were but certainly better than say hull, pompey, wolves, stoke, blackburn, bolton, burnley, wigan and west ham.
    i think we’ll fair ok next season, we have a squad of players who want to be here and are determined to grind out the results. We just need a few players with the ability to change a game at a moments notice. saying that though, it isnt a desperate necessity as look at the amount of teams with that in the prem who are cutting it fine. birmingham are the perfect example of doing alright without anything special there, and stoke. i no its not the football we want but it takes time to make gr8 teams and all we need is stability in the prem before we can drive forward and challenge for anything.

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  • SGToon

    Feb 7, 2010 at 9:21 PM

    Comment #22

    Agreed. Elfy and the others make a good point. We do need a period of stability whilst in the Prem. There are however 2 factors which I’m not too convinced about with CH in charge, namely his tactical nous, or lack thereof, and his ability to attract class acts to our club.

    Granted, the fat one may not even want to part with his cash to sign a quality player… which is something we’d desperately need to stay in the PL next season. I’m enjoying the run of results our club has been putting out in the coca cola, and it’ll hurt so badly to go thru the roller-coaster of a ride in the PL next season if we end up strugglers trying to starve off relagation again.

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  • batty

    Feb 7, 2010 at 9:57 PM

    Comment #23
  • spurs are pants

    Feb 7, 2010 at 10:09 PM

    Comment #24

    i think if we are to make it back to the premiership then money needs to be spent but can be done wisely. most of our squad now are not massive household names but give 100% most of the time. If around £10m can be made available (a big IF) in the summer, plus a little tinkering then i beleive we can build a team that will hold its own in the top flight.
    I think we need a quality Central defender and think Curtis Davies could be snapped up for around £5-6M. And just a thought, but why not try and lure Habib Beye back too? Also try and sign Van Aanholt on a permanent deal.
    How about M.G Pererson at Blackburn? His contract is up in the summer and could move on the cheap, if not for free!! Going out would be Butt, Pancrate, Ameobi and Xisco. That would claw back some of the spendings.
    My team:-
    GK – S.Harper / T.Krul
    LB – J.Enrique / P.Van Aanholt
    RB – H.Beye / D.Simpson
    CB – S.Taylor / C.Davies / F.Collocini / M.Williamson
    LM – J.Guttierez / M.G.Pederson
    RM – W.Routledge / R.Taylor
    CM – K.Nolan / A.Smith / D.Guthrie / J.Barton
    CF – A.Carroll / P.Lovenkrands / N.Ranger / L.Best
    I think this team can be arranged with a net spend of around £10M. Not too bad?

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  • Oba

    Feb 7, 2010 at 11:56 PM

    Comment #25

    And that team would go straight back down.

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  • DJG

    Feb 8, 2010 at 12:17 AM

    Comment #26

    £33 adults, £20 OAPs, £15 bairns.

    Seen the ticket prices for Derby away, bit steep for the championship.

    Another team in financial stuggle perhaps?

    I think we will do alright next year and survive in the prem simply because of the number of clubs in financial meltdown. The best think Ashley did for NUFC was make us finacially secure.

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  • Elfy_Toon

    Feb 8, 2010 at 12:52 AM

    Comment #27

    SG, i dont think hughton is going to have a problem getting players in, the newcastle brand is lure enough for some players and tbh atm we dont need superstars, just players who are going to give 100% and keep us steady, if hughton can keep us in the prem next yr and then make us into a gd steady team i can see him getting some good recognition for it. If we can show that we are rebuilding and the team shows some guile, determination and the ability to grind results we may attract some players wanting to jump into a team on the up, specially with so many teams going down atm, pederson is a good shout for left midfield, one of blackburns better players and would challenge jonas. bring in skjelbred, wouldnt mind beye back here and another left back and we should be ok next year.

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  • Uchiha_Itachi

    Feb 8, 2010 at 12:53 AM

    Comment #28

    DJG are there still tickets available for the game?

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  • spurs are pants

    Feb 8, 2010 at 1:32 AM

    Comment #29

    @Oba.
    Why so negative and why do you think that team would go straight back down?
    I think, on paper that team or something similar is more than capable of keeping us in the premier league (should we get there) next year?
    Or do you think we should go and get Michael Owen or Mark Viduka back?

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  • JMC

    Feb 8, 2010 at 9:08 AM

    Comment #30

    Elfy_Toon,

    you talk the most sense on this blog mate!

    Im sick of reading all the negativity from fans with high expectations!

    We dont want / need prima donnas on massive wages!!! Who dont care about the club.

    Thats what got us relegated in the first place!

    Refreshing change Elfy_Toon, keep it up…

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  • DJM TOON

    Feb 8, 2010 at 10:20 AM

    Comment #31

    i cant believe ppl have already replaced CH in their heads… the guy has learnt on the job. before this season started you were all complaining we’d struggle and its the end of the toon, into administration brimstone and hellfire, now were riding high at the top, we’ve had some shaky performances, some well deserved wins and some surprising losses, but were top, well on course to go straight back up, and you think its got nothing to do with CH? its the fickle fans that have already sold CH out that cause so much unrest at our club. if things go to plan, the first thing we do in the prem is consolidate, that means having a core group of players that will fight for the team. we cant expect anything but survival and i think that will be done.

    and for all the MA haters, ok, they guy is public enemy No.1 but we have 7 new faces at the club. to me, this means there is work behind the scenes going on, both williamson and routledge look canny signings and to be fair, with that in mind, 8mil, if spent wisely is easily enough to add quality to any team, as so many teams have shown in the past.

    dont jump on CH before we’ve even been promoted, what kind of supporters are you?!?

    he deserves more of a chance than anyone. and i’d rather see butt ameobi and barton slink off before anyone, they were part of our relegation team that didnt try their hardest and i dont want them wearing the black and white

    CH has done wonders and minus the above three, we have a strong core group of 6/7 players… we havent had that for a long time

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  • DJM TOON

    Feb 8, 2010 at 10:23 AM

    Comment #32

    skiptoon…. you wanna get rid of ranger??!!?

    muppet

    the brightest prospect this side of the premiership!

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  • MacToon

    Feb 8, 2010 at 10:52 AM

    Comment #33

    I see Carroll’s been charged with assault!

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  • SGToon

    Feb 8, 2010 at 12:13 PM

    Comment #34

    Carroll prolly celebrating his goals against Cardiff, and prolly had one too many. Grim news
    http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=738524&sec=england&cc=4716&cc=4716

    Update on the injuries to our squad. Good to see Butt not being in contention for awhile. Shame about the rest.
    http://soccernet.espn.go.com/preview?id=268452&cc=4716

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