Newcastle still have some work to do to seal our place in the Premier League for next season. An opportunity was wasted on Sunday against Arsenal to put more daylight between Fulham with just four matches remaining.
Now we must keep an eye on how the Cottagers fare against Burnley on Monday. The Clarets lost 2-1 to West Ham at Turf Moor last night and also hold a 9 point-edge over Fulham.
Still, Newcastle remain in a comfortable position with the onus on Fulham to produce a miracle. Stranger things have happened and this is Newcastle we are talking about.
But a few results on our end can put the matter to rest. Hopefully, we’ll do that, or Fulham fail in their quest, before the season finale at Craven Cottage in just under three weeks.
Planning for next season must go forth even with safety only tickling our fingertips, so close but still not grasped. There’s plenty of decisions to prepare for over the coming weeks.
One of the areas that is likely to be addressed is center-back. Newcastle have a glut at the position with many players nearing the end of their contracts. The bulk of the group is also at or approaching the age of 30.
Contract decisions need to be made with younger defenders likely topping our summer wishlist. A couple of center-backs have already been linked with Celtic’s Kristoffer Ajer capturing much of the headlines.
Newcastle reportedly had scouts watching the 23-year-old on Sunday. It wasn’t the Norwegian’s best display in the 4-1 loss to Rangers but he’s been one of their best players since joining five years ago.
Another center-back on the radar is Danilho Doekhi of Vitesse. The 22-year-old was touted as a potential summer target a few weeks ago.
Sport Witness has recently cited a report in the Dutch press of Newcastle’s interest in the Dutch U21 international. Both Rangers and Italy’s Atalanta are also said to be tracking Doekhi.
So Newcastle seem to have a couple of promising targets identified to strengthen and refresh the backline. That interest may ramp up once safety is guaranteed, which we hope will be in within the next couple of weeks.