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Rumours: How could Newcastle line-up after the January transfer window?

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NUFC are expected to bring major reinforcements to the club in January - but how could the Mags line-up after the transfer window?

Newcastle United face the most important January transfer window in their history after the Saudi-led takeover in October has given them the potential to strengthen the squad as they face a battle for survival.

The club have a reported £190million at their disposal but will have to spend it wisely which could be difficult in the current market, especially given the well-publicised wealth of the new owners.

The Magpies have just 11 points from their opening 19 games as the season reaches the midway point. Howe’s side sit 19th with the second-worst defensive record in the Premier League having shipped 42 goals so far this term.

It’s painfully obvious that Newcastle need to improve at the back and bring in a number of fresh faces to help bolster their chances of retaining the Premier League status come the end of the season.

However, with the recent injuries in attacking areas, the Magpies are also searching for a striker to replace the injury-prone Wilson while replicating his goalscoring record.

With the current situation at the club and the significant financial backing from the PIF and Co, it’s hard to make sense of all the rumours as almost every player in world of football has been linked with a move to Tyneside.

From the ridiculous; Mbappe, Haaland and Neymar, to the uninspiring (but perhaps more realistic); Steve Cook, Rob Holding and Mohamad Elneny; Newcastle have been linked with them all.

Reports suggest that Howe’s side are close to sealing a deal to bring Atletico full-back Kieran Trippier to St James’ Park which would help to encourage other players to move and become a key part of the clubs success moving forward.

First step – avoiding relegation…

How could the Toon line-up after the January transfer window?

GOALKEEPER

Newcastle have used three different ‘keepers so far this season: Martin Dubravka, Karl Darlow and Freddie Woodman. Those used have recorded the three worst save percentages in the Premier League (minimum four starts) so far this campaign. The stats make for terrible reading no matter what angle you look at them and it’s an area that needs to be strengthened both short and long term.

Every side needs a good goalkeeper, it’s not just about poor defending – top saves can gain your side valuable points by the end of the season.

Yes, a back line should protect their ‘keeper but if your ‘keeper is unable to stop most of the shots at goal, then what chance do you have. Confidence is massive in football and having confidence in your number one can make all the difference.

GK: Dene Henderson

The Manchester United man is considered one of the leading prospects in the English game and has starred for the Red Devils on a number of occasions. He has already shown his Premier League ability and helped United to a second place finish last campaign.

This year he seems to be back in the shadows of Spanish stopper David de Gea and is rumoured to want a move away from the Manchester club for a new challenge and to become first choice once again. 

DEFENCE

LB: Jamal Lewis

Given Jamal Lewis will hopefully return later this month and the gaping holes in the centre of defence and at centre forward, make it probably not the focus of energy right now, unless the right player becomes available and is willing.

The volume of links for Newcastle United left back compared to centre back probably mirrors this conclusion in terms of transfer activity right now. Javi Manquillo is likely to fill-in for the injured Lewis who is expected to be back in the next couple of weeks.

Credit: @JamalLewis Instagram

The injury to star striker Callum Wilson makes strengthening attacking areas has become the priority at the club, as well as the centre-back spot. After the failed attempt to bring Lucas Digne to SJP it seems that the Magpies are going to have to manage in the left-back position as the club focuses on other areas.

Lewis had a short run in the side under Howe before his injury and put in some decent performances as fans enjoyed seeing him at left-back. He has ability going forward and is an attacking option at full-back – with Trippier on the right and the signing of Chris Wood from Burnley, the team are likely to rely on their wide defenders to provide opportunities for the new target-man.

CB: Diego Carlos

The demanding centre-back played a key role in Sevilla’s Europa League success over Wolves and Manchester United a couple of years ago and is on the radar for a number of Premier League clubs.

Despite Newcastle sitting in 19th and staring down the barrel of relegation, having won just once in the first half of the season, the club have plenty to offer after the takeover in October. The signing of Trippier might encourage other high-profile players to take the leap and join the exciting project, with Diego Carlos being a potential signing for the club in the coming weeks.

Sevilla are expected to make a huge profit on the £13.5 million they paid Nantes for Carlos in 2019, with his market value now beyond £30m, which is likely to increase as clubs enter a bidding war to secure his signature.

The 28-year-old Sevilla defender would be a hugely impressive signing for Newcastle and would send a message across European football that the club means business in January and other transfer windows in the future.

Carlos is highly sought after and has been rumoured to want a move away from La Liga. With Newcastle’s bid for Botman rejected earlier in the week, the Brazilian centre-back could be a potential target for the Magpies and might be interested in a move due to the exciting nature of the project at SJP.

CB: Benoit Badiashile

Sky Sports have today reported that Newcastle are still interested in signing 20-year-old Monaco academy graduate Benoit Badiashile, who has become a key part of the French sides defence this campaign.

France U21 international Badiashile is valued around £35m and negotiations are ongoing as Newcastle run a number of parallel negotiations as discussions are reportedly continuing with Sevilla for 28-year-old Brazilian Diego Carlos.

At the age of 20, Badiashile has already amassed over 100 appearances for Monaco who at the time of writing this article sit seventh in Ligue 1. There is no denying Badiashile’s ability as a centre-back and he seems to be destined to secure a big-money move in the future.

Credit – BSR Agency via Getty Images… Magpies interested in Monaco centre-back

RB: Kieran Trippier

The 31-year-old full-back played a crucial role in Atletico’s title winning season last year and has plenty of Premier League experience.

Trippier played under Howe at Burnley in his time at Turf Moore and was a key part of England’s 2018 World Cup campaign in Russia, scoring that memorable free-kick in the semi-final.

Sky Sports have today reported a deal with Atleti is close but the club’s are yet to agree on a final price for the right-back.

Atletico Madrid turned down Man Utd’s bid for Trippier of around £14m last summer but with the 31-year-old keen on a move back to his country of birth, Newcastle United are closing in on a deal to bring him to St James’ Park.

Credit: Soccer.ru/ Антон Зайцев – Trippier ‘close’ to NUFC move…

He would certainly improve things at the back and is expected to be the first of a number of fresh faces to move to Newcastle in January.

MIDFIELD

LM/LW: Allan Saint-Maximin

Saint-Maximin was back to his best last time out against Man Utd at SJP and lit the stadium up at times with his brilliant dribbling display.

The Frenchman’s ability to beat a man is unmatched in the Premier League and with reinforcements expected at the back, the winger will have even more confidence and freedom to run at the opposition and create opportunities for his team-mates.

The 24-year-old has quickly become a fan-favourite on Tyneside and will have a huge role to play in the second half of the season as Newcastle battle to remain in the Premier League.

LCM: Joelinton

The Brazilian has been Newcastle’s best player under new boss Eddie Howe and completely ran the show last time out at SJP against Manchester United.

He works hard for the team and has turned into a box-to-box midfielder who is everywhere for his side, both defensively and in attacking areas. The 25-year-old deserves to keep his place in the side and could play a vital role in keeping Newcastle in the Premier League by breaking up opposition play and helping his side transition defence into attack.

His re-birth as a midfielder has been incredible as he’s turned things around on the pitch – Newcastle fans are excited to see if his form continues in the second half of the season.

CM/CDM: Boubacar Kamara

Newcastle are expected to make a dramatic bid to sign Marseille midfielder Boubacar Kamara from under the noses of Premier League rivals, according to the Sun on Sunday.

Credit: Supporterhéninois

He would massively improve the side in the defensive midfield department and is deemed as one for the future, available at over £20million.

Kamara would provide some much-needed depth in the centre-back position and is another player who’s contract is set to run out at the end of the season. French giants OM will be open to offers in January to avoid losing one of their star assets for nothing.

The 21-year-old has made over 100 appearances for current club Marseille in his short career so far and is tipped to be one for the future.

He can play in both centre-back and defensive midfield. Kamara is tipped to become better than the likes of Lascelles and Hayden who play those positions but might need time to develop.

RCM: Aaron Ramsey

His £400,000k a-week salary could be make or break for some clubs and puts Newcastle at the top of the list to sign him following the Saudi-led takeover of the club.

His experience of the English game and versatility in the midfield could help change the fortunes of Newcastle this season. Ramsey is expected to be available for around £10m but his high-wage might put a lot of clubs off chasing his signature.

Credit: Aaron Ramsey Instagram – the midfielder has been in great form for his country

The ex Arsenal midfielder moved to the Serie A on a free transfer in 2019 after spending ten years at the North London club. 

After lengthy spells on the sidelines he is yet to form a friendly relationship with Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri he is thought to want a move away from Turin and back to the Premier League.

RM/RW: Ryan Fraser

Fraser has played well since the arrival of Eddie Howe and had his best game in the black and white last time out against the Red Devils. His work rate and pressing are something Newcastle need if they are to have a successful second half of the season.

With other areas needing desperate investment, the RM/RW area is not top-priority and the Magpies are unlikely to bring in reinforcements in that position. As a result, if Fraser can continue his decent form that position may become his.

Howe is a big fan of the Scottish international who has the characteristics and personality to become a fan-favourite on Tyneside if he works hard and battles for the team.

He has the ability to provide a number of opportunities for his teammates and has shown his crossing skills in previous years, especially in his time at Bournemouth under Howe.

STRIKERS

ST: Chris Wood

Wood has become Newcastle’s second highest transfers after his move to St James’ Park and will be looking to make the perfect start on Saturday. The move severely weakens relegation rivals who have been left frustrated by the transfer after the 30-year-old wanted a move away from Lancashire.

The New Zealander has scored 49 goals in 144 Premier League games for the East Lancashire side, achieving double figures in all four of his seasons in claret and blue – he is one of five players in the Premier League to do so.

It is a smart move from the Magpies, who have not only strengthened their own ranks but directly weakened a relegation rival in Burnley, who both sit on just 11 points in the Premier League heading into the second half of the season.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Wood is massive presence up-front and likes to get stuck in – two qualities the Geordie faithful love to see and they will love it even more if the 6ft2in striker nets against relegation rivals Watford on Saturday.

He is out-of-favour with manager Arteta and is rumoured to want to stay in the Premier League – he is definitely not an option for a permanent move but beggars can’t be choosers in this situation.

Newcastle might utilise the loan market to help them retain their Premier League status come the end of the season. If so, they are likely to source a striker to replace the injury prone Wilson, who is sidelined for a significant period of time.

Wilson will return and might need a striker partner to help score some important goals and keep his side in the Premier League. Watch this space…

HOW DOES THIS LOOK ON PAPER?

OTHER OPTIONS

CB – Nico Schlotterbeck

Freiburg star Schlotterbeck has been linked with a move to Tyneside by Sky Sports and could become Newcastle’s new top target if they continue to struggle to make ground in their deal for the Lille defender.

The German defender stands 6ft 3′ tall and has received praise for his dominance in the air and ability to carry the ball out from the back. Freiburg have the joint-best defensive record in the Bundesliga with league leaders Bayern.

CB – Bremer

The Torino defender has come into Newcastle’s sights as a centre-back option this month, with the Magpies keen to land two central defenders before the window closes.

The club have abandoned attempts to sign Sven Botman from Lille and are working on other targets, with Bremer now key to their thoughts.

CM – James Ward-Prowse

Southampton’s dead-ball maestro who has always felt destined for a big move one day – could a role as the linchpin of the Toon Army’s first iteration of newly-moneyed galacticos tempt him into leaving his boyhood club?

He is a key part of the Saint midfield and would add some much-needed quality at dead-ball situations for the Magpies who need to utilise every attacking opportunity they get if they are to achieve Premier League safety.

CAM – Dele Alli

The 25-year-old England international has been out of favour for a number of months at Tottenham Hotspur and is yet to reach the same heights of previous years under new boss Antonio Conte.

Newcastle are one of a number of clubs linked with the attacking midfielder who has shown in the past his Premier League ability. There is still time for him to rekindle his carer on tyneside and he could play a key role in Howe’s side.

CM – Aaron Ramsey

His £400,000k a-week salary could be make or break for some clubs and puts Newcastle at the top of the list to sign him following the Saudi-led takeover of the club.

His experience of the English game and versatility in the midfield could help change the fortunes of Newcastle this season. Ramsey is expected to be available for around £10m but his high-wage might put a lot of clubs off chasing his signature.

RM/RWB – Tariq Lamptey

Lamptey would be a great option for Newcastle moving forward and might be tempted by a move to Tyneside in the future.

The energetic English winger/wing-back is highly thought of in the English game and has been in fantastic form for Brighton this season.

He has recently signed a contract extension on the South-Coast until 2024 and unlikely to leave the club, despite being at Chelsea before his move to Sussex.

ST – Ben Brereton Diaz

Another forward linked is Ben Brereton Diaz, who has enjoyed a stunning season to date with Blackburn Rovers after netting 20 goals in just 25 Championship appearances.

The Sunday Mirror claim the Magpies are lining up a £20m bid for the Chile striker, although Tony Mowbray has ruled out a January departure for the 22-year-old.

ST – Hugo Ekitike

Ekitike has scored eight goals in 17 Ligue 1 appearances this season and is on the radar of a number of Premier League teams, with Newcastle the only club to have opened official talks with the the 19-year-old.

He has undoubtedly been one of the breakout stars in France’s top flight so far this season, with his emergence coming just a matter of months after he was given his first professional start for Stade Reims.

Newcastle’s first “informal offer” is understood to fall slightly short of what Reims want for the player. It’s thought Reims’ asking price is in the region of £30million.

Thoughts?

Who would you like to see Newcastle sign in January? Will Howe do good enough business to keep the Magpies in the Premier League?

Join in the conversation and have your say…

 

 

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Eddie Howe’s pre-season: Opposition, Venues and more.

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Pre-season is vital when it comes to preparing for a new season for all football clubs around the world. It is a time where you can test different tactics, experiment with young and new players and overall get a sense of where your squad is at before the start of the new season.

For Newcastle, they have plenty of games to test the waters and give new signings like Nick Pope and Sven Botman time to get up to scratch before the start of the new Premier League season.

First, they play Gateshead in a behind-closed-doors friendly at the Newcastle United Training Centre on Saturday, 9th July. Gateshead are managed by former Magpies defender Mike Williamson and their side have just been promoted to the National League after winning the National League North.

Eddie Howe’s side will then travel to Austria for a week-long training camp where they will play two games.

The first opposition is TSV 1860 Munich who currently play in the third tier of German football, 3. Liga. The match will take place on Friday, 15th July and will be played at the SaalfeldenArena Burgerau, kick-off is set for 6 pm local time. The former champions of Germany have had success in the past when they finished as runners-up in the European Cup Winners’ Cup in the 1964/65 season. The Toon met with this side in the UEFA Intertoto Cup back in 2001, Newcastle won 6-3 on aggregate across the two legs. One of Munich’s best players, Marcel Bar, scored 21 goals in 37 appearances last season.

Then, Newcastle play Mainz on Monday, 18th July in what will be their third pre-season fixture. The match will be played at the 4,500-capacity Kufstein Arena and will kick-off at 5 pm local time. Mainz, currently managed by Bo Svensson, finished 8th in the Bundesliga last season. The last time the two sides met was in a pre-season game back in the summer of 2017, Mainz came out on top winning 2-1. Some of their best players include Jonathan Burkardt who managed to bag himself 11 goals and 3 assists last season as well as Moussa Niakhate who scored 8 goals and assisted 5 times.

The Toon then have eight days to prepare for their next pre-season fixture as they travel to Portugal to play Benfica at the Estadio da Luiz for the Eusebio Cup. The match will take place on Tuesday, 26th July and will kick-off at 8 pm local time. Benfica finished third in the Portugal Liga Nos last season. It’s been 9 years since the sides last met in the Europa League quarter-finals when Papiss Cisse’s goal in the second leg wasn’t enough and the Magpies exited the competition losing 4-2 on aggregate. Benfica were knocked out of the Champions League in the quarter-finals by Liverpool last season and some of their best players include Rafa Silva who came out with 23 goal contributions last season and Alex Grimaldo who scored 5 and assisted 5 from left-back last season.

To finish pre-season the Toon then face a double-header at St James’ Park. The first game played on Friday, 29th July will be against Atalanta. It is expected that Howe will split his first-team squad across the two fixtures and play two completely different teams. Atalanta finished 8th in Serie A last season and exited the Europa League quarter-finals following a 3-1 aggregate defeat to RB Leipzig. Mario Pasalic is one of their best players and had a very successful 2021/22 season which saw him earn 20 goal contributions from centre midfield in the league. The match will kick-off at 7:45 pm in St James’ Park

Newcastle will then face Spanish side Athletic Bilbao, just a week before the first game of the Premier League season against Nottingham Forest to finish their pre-season. Bilbao finished 8th in La Liga last season and were close to cup success, following a 2-0 defeat to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup final. Inaki Williams who hasn’t missed a single game for the Spanish side in over six years is a threat up-front and captain Iker Muniain will also be a danger for the Toon following last season where he managed 10 assists and 4 goals.

Ticket information for these games are to be confirmed soon.

So what do you think of the pre-season fixtures and how many wins will Eddie Howe’s side manage in what promises to be an exciting season ahead.

Join the conversation on our Facebook page …

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Transfer update: NUFC looking at Bayern and Leeds forwards and defensive departures

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Image: @premierleague via Twitter

After confirming the signing of defender Sven Botman, and long-term target Hugo Ekitike off the table, Newcastle are set to look elsewhere in the transfer market.

The signing of Reims forward Hugo Ekitke is now in doubt. Reports are that the players’ agent, Karl Mwalako Buchmann, has brought discussions to a standstill. Newcastle were close to completing a move for the young winger in January and again this summer. 

With these two long running sagas appearing over, Eddie Howe and Dan Ashworth will work on other transfers.

Securing Matt Targett, Nick Pope and Sven Botman marks a positive transfer window already for the Magpies, but their search for attacking reinforcements will continue.

According to The Chronicle, Eddie Howe wants a winger and a striker to compete with Callum Wilson next season.

One attacker Newcastle have been linked with is Leeds’ Jack Harrison. The club are reported to have enquired about Harrison. The talented 25-year old would seem a good fit in the Newcastle squad, and fit with the attractive stlye of football Eddie Howe has his side playing. 

Per the Telegraph’s Luke Edwards, Newcastle are keen on Harrison but have a limited budget remaining.

With Leeds forward Raphinha looking set to leave Elland Road for Chelsea, it could take a lot for Newcastle to persuade Leeds to depart with another winger. 

Reports from Belgium have suggested Newcastle are competing to sign striker Joshua Zirkzee from Bayern Munich. The Dutchman spent last season on a successful loan spell at Anderlecht. The 21-year old has also drawn interest from Ajax.

Zirkzee scored 16 and made 9 assists in 38 appearances for the Belgian side during his loan spell last season.

In terms of departures, the arrival of Sven Botman could make way for Jamaal Lascelles to leave. The captain has long been linked with a return to Nottingham Forest. 

Lascelles’ inclusion in marketing for Newcastle’s new third kit has been seen as a sign that the club are unwilling to part with the player. As an experienced player he could provide continuity in Newcastle’s new-look back four. It remains to be seen whether he would be content to play second fiddle to players like Botman, or move in search of more game time.

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Newcastle Complete Third Summer Signing

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Newcastle sign Botman
Image: @svenbotman_ via Instagram

Dutch centre-back Sven Botman has become Newcastle’s third summer signing, arriving from French side Lille for a fee in the region of £35,000,000.

The 22-year-old was one of Eddie Howe’s main targets this summer as he looks to bolster his defensive options. The Dutchman has penned a contract keeping him at Newcastle until 2027.

The Magpies’ moved for Botman in the January window but a deal failed to materialise after The Toon had two bids turned down by Lille. 

The defender played 32 games in all competitions last season with Lille, including 5 appearances in the Champions League.

Botman has yet to make an appearance for Hollands senior side but has progressed from the U15s to now being with the U21s side.

The Toon have beaten Italian giants AC Milan to Botman’s signature as they failed to match Newcastle’s £35,000,000 offer.

Botman joined Lille from Ajax in 2020 for €9,200,000 and has gone on to play 79 times for the French side.

The Dutch centre-back is the third player to arrive at St James’ Park following left-back Matt Target and goalkeeper Nick Pope after joining from Aston Villa and Burnley respectively.

What will he bring?

The left-sided centre-back is very comfortable in possession, with a pass completion rate of 88% in Ligue 1 last season. Botman also holds a great aerial presence with him being 6ft 5in, making him a great threat from set-pieces and solid in areal duals.

The Dutchman has also been compared by scouts to fellow countryman Virgil van Dijk and believe he can be developed into one of Europe’s best centre-backs.

Botman played a huge role in Lille’s shock title win in Ligue 1 in the 20/21 season as he played 37 times out of a possible 38 and they conceded 23 goals fewer than the season prior. 

His performances attracted interest from the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham.

How will he fit in?

You would imagine with the size of the fee that Botman will be one of the first names on the team sheet come the start of the season.

Botman is predominantly a left-footer but is comfortable on his right side meaning he could occupy the right-sided centre-back spot should the left side be taken by Dan Burn.

Eddie Howe has mainly played a back four during his time at St James’ Park meaning Botman’s arrival may disrupt the centre-back pairing of Burn and Schar that played a pivotal part in Toon’s revival post-January.

Burn has been a mainstay in The Magpies’ defence with him playing 16 times since his arrival from Brighton in January so you would expect Botman to take the right centre-back spot.

However, Fabian Schar should not be overlooked as he signed a new two-year contract in April which shows that Eddie Howe expects the Swiss international to be involved next season. Schar also played in 23 of the 27 games that Howe was in charge of last season displaying his trust in the defender.

With Howe adding Botman to the ranks, skipper Lascelles could leave Newcastle this summer with his old side and Premier League new boys Nottingham Forest keen to have him back at the City Ground.

Have your say

Are you happy with the signing of Sven Botman?

Will he be a nailed-on starter?

Whose place will he take?

Have your say on our Facebook page!

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