Newcastle suffered a setback yesterday against Arsenal as they failed to capitalize on a golden chance of smothering Fulham’s survival hopes. A win and Newcastle would have been twelve points clear with just four matches remaining. Fulham would have had to run the table for any chance of survival.
However, that chance has gone wasted, and barring an unlikely win at Leicester on Friday, Newcastle will have to keep one eye on Fulham’s next few fixtures. So the apprehensive wait for survival, while still very likely, nonetheless lingers on.
The poor showing yesterday aside, Newcastle still must press with at least preliminary planning for this summer. Some targets seem to have been identified and there are plenty of decisions to be rendered with the current squad.
Newcastle have a few players out of contract this summer and others entering the final year of their deals. So there’s quite a bit to do over the next few months even with the expectation that the transfer budget will be paltry at best.
Steve Bruce spoke a little about the contract situation with some of his players after yesterday’s defeat against the Gunners. It seems that much of the focus is on clinching survival before certain decisions are made.
This is what Bruce said about Fabian Schar’s future along with the current thinking on contract extensions as published in The Northern Echo:
“With Fab Schar, I think there’s a clause in his contract where we can extend it. I believe that’s the case.
“With all of those decisions, there’s obviously discussions to be had when the season is done and dusted. We’re not done and dusted yet, but of course, there are big, difficult decisions to make.
“In every football club, that’s part and parcel of it. Yes, we’ve got some big decisions to make.”