As Newcastle’s search for a new manager and Director of Football continues, Graeme Jones is preparing the lads for Chelsea’s arrival on Saturday. The caretaker manager revealed last week he was asked to take control of last Saturday’s match at Crystal Palace and this weekend against Chelsea.
However, the Saudi consortium will take all the time they need to get these two crucial appointments right. So Jones could also be on the touchline at Brighton a week on Saturday if the manager search extends deep into next week.
Newcastle have 11 fixtures until the January window opens when the squad can be strengthened. They also face a trip to St. Marys on the second of January. So unless a target is lined up for New Year’s Day, it’s going to be at least 12 matches before any new signings arrive.
As we’ve witnessed this season, the squad is in desperate need of quality in almost all areas of the pitch. However, the focus for the remainder of this year as well as the January window will be to do whatever it takes to stay up.
Speaking to the podcast Que Golazo!, Alan Shearer named three positions he’d like to see the club concentrate on in the winter window. Primarily, Shearer wants to see the spine strengthened. Here is what he said as published in The Shields Gazette:
“I think we could definitely do with players straight down the spine.
“Newcastle have got one of the worse defenses in the league, so it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out what they need.
“They need a defender or two, preferably a center-back. They certainly need a creative midfielder.
“Without Callum Wilson… Callum’s career will tell you he’s going to pick up injuries now and again, so he’s not going to play every game.
“There’s no doubt they need another forward who can put the ball in the net to try and take the burden away from him when he’s playing and not playing.
“The three players, without a doubt, would be a center-half, a creative midfielder, and a forward to put the ball in the back of the net.”
Newcastle’s squad is full so there could be some movement out the door in January as well. The position that could see a lot of changes is at center-back. Shearer would like to see up to two defenders brought in.
With Paul Dummett and Fabian Schar in the final year of their contracts, they could be offloaded to make room. Though our new owners will not have the same level of concern of keeping hold of players not in the 25-man squad as the last.
Shearer also stressed patience when touching on the next window. It will be one where experience is likely sought while next summer could be the time to add the flair. This winter the focus will be on getting in players to help us climb the table.
Alan doesn’t think Newcastle will have any trouble finding willing players who want to join a club on the rise. Shearer added the following about the winter window:
“The owners have said they’re ambitious and they’ve got money to spend but Newcastle fans, pundits, and ex-players will have to be very patient.
“It’s not going to happen overnight a month or a year, it’s going to take a long time – it’ll be small steps.
“It’s going to be a certain type of player first and foremost to get Newcastle out of the relegation zone and start to climb the table.
“There will be players who will be desperate to come to Newcastle United to try and prove themselves and improve the squad because that is, without doubt, is what is needed.”
Here is the interview with Shearer on YouTube.