There are 2 trains of thought here. There are people speculating that Newcastle will have a huge war chest of £200-300m in the Summer, others like myself believe they may have the funds but are looking to build the club up sustainably and Eddie Howe is very much a cautious manager in terms of signings. He likes players’ characters and ones he can mould and improve rather than buying ready-made stars.
So I will look at a few options and let you know who Newcastle might sign this Summer based on those budgets. It is looking increasingly likely they will qualify for the Champions League too next season, which is a wonderful achievement given where they were when Eddie Howe took over 18 months ago.
Before we look at summer signings though we need to review the squad and what Howe has available to him. Pope in goal is nailed on to stay, one of the best keepers in the league, sure he isn’t very good with his distribution but he is fantastic at keeping the ball out of the net and commanding his box. At 30 or close to he still has a good 5 years of peak performance in him.
At the back, we have Kieran Trippier, whose set pieces are amazing, as well as his all-round defensive play. He likes to get forward but is honest, works hard to get back into shape and is solid. Still at least 2 more years left in him. No issues.
Next to him comes our first place of improvement. While Sven Botman is young, a Rolls Royce of a player on the ball, and physically dominant, Fabian Schar next to him would be a concern. His game has definitely improved under Eddie Howe but he is prone to the odd clanger and he lacks mobility like Botman so when better-quality teams come in the Champions League they will be in trouble. Down the left we have Dan Burn, born in the North East and a Newcastle fan, you can tell he is passionate about the shirt. A weapon at set pieces but again going up a level he is far too slow and will get caught out. His back up Matt Targett, could stay as backup to a new left back.
In midfield, we have Bruno Guimaraes who is a nailed-on starter when fit, can play as a defensive midfielder but is better further up so a DM would be a priority. The rest of the cast like Joelinton, Willock, and Longstaff are all at a similar level but again I don’t think they are quite good enough to maintain a top 4 team. I would also be looking at more creativity so maybe a number 10 or a progressive midfielder would also be worth looking at.
On the wings, they have Allan Saint Maximin, who on his day is unplayable, but has been in and out of the side this season. I’d keep him around as he can do things others just can’t with the ball, and gets the St James Park crowd off their seat. On the other side, Almiron has upped his attacking numbers this season, adding goals and assists and he works so hard for the team. He stays too. But I think someone who can play either side as an option would be good.
Up front Isak and Wilson are a handful, and there is no need to sign anyone else with young Garang Kuol coming through, and he looks so exciting!
Left back: Expensive option – Kieran Tierney (Arsenal) There has been talk he is not happy at the club, Zinchenko coming in has changed the way they play but Arsenal will want a lot of money from a rival.
Cheaper option – Marcus Acuna (Sevilla) A winger converted into a left back, so we know he is great going forward. Sevilla have been poor in the League, unless they win the Europa League will have no Europe next season and they are in debt so would be available cheaply.
Defensive Mid: Expensive option – Declan Rice (West Ham) £80-100m to sign him but would revolutionise the team. England international and will be for the next 10 years. Top player!
Cheaper Option – James Ward-Prowse (Southampton) Best Free kick taker the premier league has ever seen? Some say Beckham but I think this man edges the great man out. Southampton going down, so would be available for around £25-30m I would think.
Attacking Midfielder: Both options are quite expensive here but I think achievable. Mason Mount will be cheaper but wages will be enormous. James Maddison will be more expensive but Leicester even if they stay up have financial issues, lots of players out of contract and other areas they need to strengthen.
Winger: Expensive option – Harvey Barnes (Leicester City) £60-70m would be enough to buy him. Electric pace, and just needs to up his output in regards to goals, but a hard worker, who can go both ways and play on either wing. Also helps the homegrown quota.
Cheaper Option – Martin Terrier (Rennes) Has been performing exceptionally for 3 seasons now. A left foot wand, but can play either side or as a 10. Tremendous output with plenty of goals and assists. Has only managed 16 league games this season but has 9 goals and 4 assists. Talks swirling that he’s available for around 30-35m euros. Bargain!