With Newcastle set to make their eagerly anticipated Premier League return against Spurs at St. James’ Park next month, here’s three players we believe could surprise a few next season:
He may not have been the Premier League proven centre half we were anticipating but Lejeune comes with a growing reputation in Spain. A late developer at 26, he arrives off the back of an impressive season with Eibar as they performed above expectations to secure a 10th place finish.
Florian Lejeune – 16/17 pic.twitter.com/U1C6Eqxi8K
— John (@jbxnufc) June 21, 2017
Trying to avoid the Dennis Wise style YouTube scouting, it has become clear that many La Liga experts feel he is a perfect fit for English football. Tall, athletic and with a decent turn of pace, he could prove to a shrewd addition at £8.7m, which is looking more and more like peanuts in the modern market.
He also has a point to prove after signing for Manchester City a few years back and never making an appearance for them. He has thrived at smaller clubs and now has the opportunity to deliver on the big stage and under a world class manager. With Newcastle already having Clark, Mbemba and Lascelles on the books, Rafa clearly feels Lejeune is a quality option to decide to bring him in. One to watch with interest next season.
Yedlin has of course played in the Premier League before with both Tottenham and Sunderland. His electric pace and athleticism is there for all to see but he was often criticised for not having the positional sense or defending prowess to become a top Premier League full back.
His last loan spell at Sunderland seemed like a real improvement though and with the help of Big Sam, became far more solid defensively. As Newcastle fans know, Big Sam brings boring football but good organisation.
Yedlin continued to improve under Rafa last year and after a long tussle with Anita for the RB slot, made it his own by the end of the season. With Anita released, Rafa clearly sees Yedlin as mainstay of his squad next year. Like some others in the squad, not making the grade at other clubs and loan spells here and there will hopefully motivate Yedlin to push on next year.
Shelvey is a player with plenty of top flight pedigree from spells with Swansea and Liverpool and even has been capped by England. He has however somewhat flattered to deceive; brilliant some weeks and invisible the next. Newcastle fans certainly witnessed his clear talent in the Championship last year, along with disciplinary issues.
He certainly won’t be given the same time on the ball to dictate games as he did last year, as we come up against far stronger opposition. He is coming up to his prime physically and can hopefully use his talent to put in some consistent performances next year. He returned to pre-season weeks earlier than needed to shed weight and be ready for the new year; so he clearly has a point to prove and is eager to surprise a few come August.
Newcastle clearly need more signings but Rafa will also be hoping the likes of Lejeune, Yedlin and Shelvey can step up next year. We do have a squad that will have a point to prove next year: Clark will want to prove his ability at the top level after an awful relegation with Villa, Perez needs to finally realise his potential and Dwight Gayle will be determined to finally become a Premier League regular. Here’s hoping our squad comes together ready for Tottenham come the 13th of August.
Let us know who you feel could be next seasons surprise package or shining light for NUFC?