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Opinion: Five players Eddie Howe should allow to leave NUFC in January



Newcastle United Football Club - NUFC
Credit: @nufc instagram - a large reshuffle is expected in January at NUFC...

The January transfer window is set to be a busy one for Eddie Howe, who desperately needs to improve the quality in his side as Newcastle battle for Premier League survival.

The recent Saudi-led takeover of Newcastle United means the club are expected to spend big in the upcoming transfer window and increases the chances of a complete squad overhaul come January.

The Magpies are expected to have around £190million at their disposal to help bolster their chances of remaining a Premier League side by the end of the campaign.

While much of the talk has been around the potential reinforcements that could join the club, it’s vital that Howe gets rid of some “deadwood” in the squad if Newcastle are to move forward in the new era for the club.

Why is a reshuffle needed?

The Magpies are on the limit of their 25-man Premier League squad with the early season injury crises forcing former boss Steve Bruce to register four goalkeepers. Newcastle will have to part company with a number of squad members to make way for higher-quality players.

New manager Howe has distanced himself from transfer speculation and rightly so given the current predicament the club finds itself in. He has insisted that the players who are currently available for selection will have a ‘huge part to play’ in the battle for survival.

However, the ambitions at the club have changed vastly since the takeover and the new owners are looking to improve the squad wherever they can, not just to avoid relegation but to take the club forward in years to come.

With the club sitting second bottom of the table and winning just one game so far this season, it remains clear that the need for mid-season reinforcements is huge, in what may prove to be one of the most important transfer windows of Newcastle’s history.

Fringe players may leave the club permanently, while youth prospects are expected to be sent out on loan to make room for improvements.

One thing that remains clear is the club is drowning in second-rate, substandard and unworthy players who need to be moved on if Newcastle are to gain some much-needed momentum heading into the New Year and the rest of the campaign.

Perhaps these players have done a job in the past and served their purpose in the Championship but now is the  time they went the journey.

Here’s a look at five players who fit that mould and should leave as part of the expected January’s reshuffle:

Ciaran Clark

The 32-year-old centre-back was brought to St James’ Park back in 2016 during the Championship campaign and played a key role in the club’s promotion back to the Premier League under Rafa Benitez.

The Republic of Ireland international was a major part of the squad in the first half of the 2017-18 season as Newcastle returned to the Premier League. However, his place in the team was mostly due to injuries as Jamaal Lascelles and Florian Lejeune were preferred in the second half of the campaign.

Clark only managed eight Premier League appearances in the 2018-19 season, despite finding the net on three occasions which proved important for the clubs survival by the end of the season. He featured regularly under Steve Bruce.

However, Clark’s clear lack of quality has been there for all to see this campaign and was summed up perfectly by his mindless red card in the crucial, must-win relegation battle with Norwich last week.

The experienced defender should have known better than to bring Canaries striker Teemu Puki down as he closed in on goal and arguably cost his side three vital points at SJP.

United’s woeful defensive record this season highlights the desperate need for new recruits in the transfer window, with Burnley captain James Tarkowski among the names most recently linked.

The club have the worst defensive record in the league so far this term and need some high quality recruits at the back.

Clark, who recently agreed a new two-year deal, would be one of the first names to go and the need for reinforcements at centre-back would push the 32-year-old even further down the pecking order.

Jeff Hendrick

Hendrick has made 24 appearances for the Magpies since his arrival on a free transfer from Burnley in 2020 and is a perfect example of Newcastle’s extremely poor recruitment under Mike Ashley.

The Republic of Ireland international cost the club nothing in transfer fees and severely lacks Premier League quality as Newcastle hunt for survival.

There must have been a reason why Sean Dyche let the midfielder leave and his lack of bite in the crucial defensive midfield area is probably the answer.

Hendrick scored in his solitary league appearence to date in the defeat at Wolves in October, but fell out of favour under Bruce. His yet to feature under new boss Eddie Howe who wants to play a more attacking, exciting and front-foot brand of football.

Jonjo Shelvey and Joe Willock have established themselves in central midfield meaning the free transfer from Burnley is a likely candidate to leave the club.

He would certainly free up space for a higher quality player to join in the upcoming transfer window and the majority of fans would support his departure.

Mark Gillespie 

The 29-year-old goalkeeper was brought to the club in the 2020 summer transfer window from Scottish side Motherwell and is yet to make a Premier League appearance. His only start came in the EFL Cup victory over Newport County with the Mags winning 5-4 on penalties.

Steve Bruce brought the Englishman to the club after an injury crises resulted in the former boss registering four goalkeepers.

However, now the club has two decent ‘keepers in Dubravka and Darlow who are battling it out for the no.1 place, it’s unlikely that Newcastle-born Gillespie will feature under Howe. He’s another metaphor for the club’s mediocrity and although he was brought-in as back-up, should be nowhere near the first-team.

Freddie Woodman is the other registered shot-stopper and may be sent out on loan, but if the club were to want back-up due to injury concerns then Woodman would be the preferred choice.

The youngster has been at the club for many years and was a key part of the academy before his successful loan-move to Swansea where he was one of the best Championship ‘keepers last term.

Dwight Gayle

Rafa Benitez brought the English striker to Tyneside back in 2016 and the 32-year-old played a crucial part in the subsequent promotion back to the Premier League.

Gayle became the first player to score 20 or more goals for Newcastle since Alan Shearer – albeit in the Championship.

He was the leagues top scorer with 17 heading into the New Year but a longstanding hamstring injury in the second half of the season saw him leave the field on three separate occasions before half time.

That hamstring problem still haunts him today as Gayle has been unable to put a string of games together and is yet to start under Howe. He is injury prone and was definitely at home in the Championship – that’s where he belongs.

Typically, Gayle was one of three players to be handed contract extensions this summer which seems baffling given the fact the former number nine remains a peripheral figure and has been linked with a loan exit on a number of occasions.

The striker has featured for just 21 minutes in black-and-white this season and is unlikely to find himself in contention given the decent form of front-three; Joelinton, Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson.

Nottingham Forest and a return to West Brom have been rumoured as possible destinations for Gayle in January. The club should be looking to let the 32-year-old leave on a permanent deal given the potential to bring in much better options in the upcoming window.

Sean Longstaff

Since the Geordie-born midfielder was brought into the first-team scene under Rafa Benitez he has failed to make an impact in the centre of the park.

Despite scoring a beauty in the away trip at Watford a few months back, the 24-year-old has been at fault for a number of goals this season and gives the ball away too often in important areas. He is lacklustre and regularly second to the loose balls which is the complete opposite of what you want from a player in his position.

The North-Shields born midfielder has featured on 65 occasions for the Magpies in his career but is a likely candidate to leave in January. He is yet to make the starting eleven under Howe and faces tough competition from Isaac Hayden who plays a similar role.

Longstaff is unlikely to fit in the new managers plans given the brand of football he is hoping to instil at the club and therefore might be shown the exit door in the upcoming window.

The midfielder’s contract is set to expire in the summer and with younger brother Matty perhaps a more promising option it seems crazy to think the 24-year-old once linked with Manchester United could leave for nothing in the coming weeks.

He may be “one-of-our own” but fans need to look past his sentimental Geordie upbringing and look forward to a brighter future with a group of much more talented players.

Thoughts? Who would you like to see leave Newcastle in January? Will Howe be able to strengthen the squad enough in the upcoming window? Who do you want to see wearing the black and white in the New Year?

Join in the conversation and have your say…


Saudi Arabia wants its investors to own Manchester United



North East Updates - Breaking News

Sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Sky News – with the sovereign wealth fund already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.


Sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Sky News – with the sovereign wealth fund already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.


It follows the Manchester United board announcing that they are open to a sale of the club.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisalstated he would be keen on Ronaldo signing for a Saudi Pro League after the World Cup, with the 37-year-old a free agent following a controversial interview and exit to Manchester United earlier this week..


“Who wouldn’t want him to play in their league?” “He’s a role model to a lot of young players – him and Messi.”


Sky news are reporting – It is the availability of United – after the Glazers announced plans for a potential sale – and Ronaldo that is interesting Prince Abdulaziz.


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Which Newcastle Players Are Going To The World Cup?




The FIFA World Cup in Qatar gets underway next week and here are all the Newcastle players involved in the tournament

Callum Wilson (England)

Newcastle striker Callum Wilson is a player that has consistently shown the quality to earn a spot in an England squad at a major tournament but has sadly had his chances diminished by injuries in the past.

However, Wilson is currently injury free and is on the plane to Qatar! The Coventry City academy graduate averages a goal every 130 minutes in the Premier League this season, which is the second-best return of all English players behind Harry Kane.

The 30-year-old may have to bide his time for an opportunity due to England captain Harry Kane being the first-choice striker. That said, Wilson gives Gareth Southgate a great alternative should England find themselves chasing a game.

Kieran Trippier (England)

Gareth Southgate has always been very fond of Kieran Trippier’s abilities and what he brings to a team. For example, in Euro 2020 Southgate opted to play Trippier at left-back ahead of a more natural option in Ben Chilwell due to the 32-year-old’s experience and leadership qualities.

Trippier brings bags of experience at major tournaments after reaching the semi-final of the 2018 World Cup and the final of Euro 2020.

With injuries at right-back to the likes of Reece James and uncertainty around the fitness of Kyle Walker, Trippier could start at right wing-back in England’s World Cup opener against Iran.

Nick Pope (England)

The last player to complete The Magpies’ England trio is Nick Pope. Toon’s No.1 has been outstanding since arriving from Burnley in the Summer and has earnt his place in England’s World Cup squad.

Pope has the joint most clean sheets in the Premier League this season (6) alongside Manchester City goalkeeper, Ederson and fellow England goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

It remains to be seen if Gareth Southgate picks Pope to be his first-choice goalkeeper in Qatar ahead of Jordan Pickford and Aaron Ramsdale. Pope started both of England’s last games in the Nations League back in September.

Bruno Guimarães (Brazil)

Moving to South America and the favourites to win the competition, Brazil. Bruno Guimarães has been one of Newcastle’s stand-out players this season and has deservedly earned himself a spot in Brazil’s very competitive World Cup Squad.

Guimarães has statistically been the best midfielder in the Premier League so far this season and will be hoping his performances have done enough to earn him a start against Serbia in Brazil’s opening fixture.

That said, Brazil manager Adenor Leonardo Bacchi has predominantly played with a midfield two of Manchester United duo, Casemiro and Fred at the base of the Brazilian midfield.

Fabian Schär (Switzerland)

The Magpies’ centre-back has been in great form alongside Sven Botman at the heart of Newcastle’s defence this season and will be hoping to continue his form in Qatar.

Schär has some tough competition in his position in the form of Manchester City centre-back Manuel Akanji and Borussia Monchengladbach’s Nico Elvedi.

Switzerland find themselves in the same group as tournament favourites Brazil, which will see Schär reunited with Toon teammate Bruno Guimarães in Gameweek 2.

Who didn’t make the squad?

The most surprising player to not make their country’s squad is Sven Botman. The former Lille centre-back has been a major part of why Newcastle has the Premier League’s best defence so far this campaign.

Louis van Gaal has a great pool of centre-backs available to him and opted for the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Matthijs de Ligt, Stefan de Vrij and Nathan Ake over Botman.

Another Toon player with World Cup disappointment is Joelinton, who has failed to follow Bruno Guimarães on the plane to Qatar.

Joelinton has been a revelation under Eddie Howe following his remarkable transformation from a striker to a box-to-box midfielder. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for Joelinton this year.

Have Your Say

Who do you think will win the World Cup?

Which Newcastle player will be the best performer?

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What We Learnt (Spurs 1-2 Newcastle)



deadline day

Newcastle United were victorious at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium yesterday, winning 2-1 and now sit fourth in the Premier League. This is the first time they’ve been there at this stage of the season in 10 years.


Goals from Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron were enough to scare away any chances of a second-half Spurs comeback. That’s six goals for Miggy in what is now his best-ever season for goals in black and white.


With 21 points, just five behind Manchester City and seven behind current league leaders Arsenal, the Toon are looking better than ever, but what did the victory yesterday tell us?


Toon are charging for Europe


If you didn’t believe it at the start of the season you should now. Eddie Howe has transformed Newcastle into a team with a winning mentality with a real sense of togetherness in a squad who are willing to battle for one another, week in and week out.


Very few teams will travel to London this season and manage to come away with a point, never mind three when playing Spurs. Not only this game, however, but Man City (3-3), Liverpool (2-1) and Brentford (5-1) have also shown that Howe and his side mean business this season and are willing to go toe to toe with some of the very best teams, coaches and players in the world. 


In his first signing interview, Sven Botman said, “Newcastle wants to reach the top and the top is in the league and, at the end, maybe in Europe.” Maybe he didn’t specifically mean this season but now he and the rest of his teammates should believe that they have a real chance of playing European football next season.


Almiron transformation shouldn’t go unnoticed


Almiron made 30 appearances last season in the league and finished with just one goal and no assists. Now, after just 12 games and six goals, the Paraguayan is already on course to smash his previous goal-scoring records which have seen him accumulate nine Premier League goals over the course of four seasons. 


Loved by the fans and with the full support of his teammates, it can only get better for the Paraguayan at this point. His goal against Tottenham showed the dribbling, flair and finishing quality he withholds, something that Steve Bruce and Rafael Benitez could never get out of him.


Eddie Howe must be awarded credit for this development, as with the current budget the club has, he could’ve easily found a replacement in the summer. But, just like Joelinton, Miggy has cemented his spot in Newcastle’s starting eleven and is proving every week why he deserves to be there.


Wilson & Burn should be considered by Southgate 


On TalkSport recently, Neil Warnock warned Gareth Southgate saying his loyalty to players might be his downfall and said Dan Burn is “Mr Steady Eddie” referring to his versatility, being able to play left-back or centre-back.


Burn started 28 Premier League games last season and this season has 11 out of 12. His consistent dominating performances in Newcastle’s back line have put him into the conversation for a first-ever England call-up and I don’t think many would disagree. With John Stoned injured, Harry Maguire and Tyrone Mings not in good form and not getting regular game time, Gareth Southgate’s defensive decisions should now be a lot more challenging.


Callum Wilson has proved yet again his abilities as a top Premier League striker. His goal against Spurs not only put him in the headlines over England captain Harry Kane but also made it four in eight for the English man this season who has averaged 2.8 shots per game with an average scoring frequency of 162 minutes. 


With no clear-cut backup striker to Kane, is Wilson ahead of Ivan Toney and Tammy Abraham in the race to be England’s number two striker?


So, what do you think? Do Newcastle have a serious chance at European football next season, can Almiron stay at his best and should Wilson and Burn be considered for a World Cup call-up?


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