When you compare the Newcastle squad now with a year ago, it is a lot stronger, after we brought the five Frenchmen in during January, to help us avoid relegation, and we just about managed that.
Papiss Cisse – needs help in the goal-scoring department
We now have Mathieu Debuchy, Massadio Haidara, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Yoan Gouffran and Moussa Sissoko, and we have lost Demba Ba, James Perch and probably Dan Gosling.
So the squad is stronger than last year, although we need more scoring power up front, and when you think we don’t have those extra games in Europe next season, there is some reason for optimism in the coming season.
But then there’s Joe Kinnear, and his appointment to us seems to have thrown a spanner in the works, because he has quickly proved (again) he is a divisive character, and that has nothing to do with his football knowledge, which Kinnear says is the best in the business, or at least words to that effect.
We do think that Mike Ashley has overreacted to our narrow escape last season in the Premier League, but we expect Alan Pardew, John Carver, Steve Stone and Andy Woodman to put things right this season, and they deserve the chance, because of doing so well in the previous season.
Ashley was reported angry that the fringe players and the youngsters Newcastle had in last season’s squad couldn’t take up the slack when we suffered all those injuries to our top players.
Our defense last season was hopeless, and we conceded the most goals ever in the Premier League – 68 – but we have now brought in three good French defenders to help out, and we could always play Moussa Sissoko in defensive midfield too, if more steel is needed at the back.
We need one and probably two strikers brought in this summer, and we half expect Shola Ameobi to leave the club, but if he goes and Mike Williamson is also moved on then that’s six Englishmen who will have left the club this summer – Harper, Simpson, Perch, Gosling, Ameobi and Williamson.
We are classing Shola as English, since he’s been on Tyneside since he was five years old, although it seems he will be recalled to the Nigerian squad soon.
So it may be a contrarian view of things, and Joe Kinnear is certainly a wild card and a loose cannon and could upset the Newcastle apple cart – but we think Newcastle are well set to do well next season in the Premier League.
But at the very minimum we need two good strikers brought into the club this summer, if we keep the players we have right now.
What do you think?
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