A lot has been said about the teams promoted to the English Premier League via the Championship so far. Brighton and Huddersfield are getting a lot of mentions but one side who is seemingly going unnoticed is Newcastle United.
Newcastle, who have been there and done it in the top flight numerous times, have been floating under the radar for the most part, with other teams’ survival chances being called into question.
Are the Toon Army at risk this season though, or will Rafa Benitez steer them clear of the battle at the bottom of the division?
Newcastle had a very strong squad when they were relegated and that showed last season. They managed to retain the majority of their squad and add to it last campaign; and that will stand them in good stead this season. Rafa Benitez has been there and done it at top clubs around Europe, he’s an astute tactician too, and more than capable of changing things in The Magpies favour when things are going against them. These are all reasons why Newcastle have a good chance of retaining their top flight status.
There have been some concerns over recruitment at St James Park this summer and Rafa Benitez has been vocal about it in the media too.
So far Jacob Murphy, Florian Lejeune, Christian Atsu, Javier Maquillo and Mikel Merino have arrived but Benitez and Newcastle want more, they need more.
Mike Ashley, the Newcastle owner, said he would make every penny earned from promotion available to strengthen the squad ahead of the forthcoming season.
They have spent but not as much as they’d like. It’s key that Newcastle start the campaign with a bit more quality added or they could find themselves getting sucked in to a relegation battle. They need to keep Benitez happy too. He stuck with them when they were relegated when he could have left and gone on to better things. He seems unhappy and frustrated at their lack of business so far so it’s imperative promises are kept.
Apart from a drastic and rapid improvement in recruitment, it’s important for the players already at the club to stand up and be counted.
The jewel in the crown is Jonjo Shelvey, without a doubt. He looked a cut above everybody else in the Championship last season with his passing ability and his general understanding of the game. He belongs in the top flight and he’s one player Newcastle have in their ranks who can make a difference against any club in the division. He will be a key part of Rafa Benitez’s plans and for Newcastle to stay up, he has to play well.
Newcastle are in a better position than the likes of Brighton and Huddersfield when it comes to Premier League survival. They’ve been there and done it in the top flight for years and they’re a huge club who can attract quality. If they get a shift on and add some more quality to the side in the near future, they will have all the ingredients for a successful campaign.