By Andrew Campbell
The Premier League starts in a week’s time and the highs of a 10th place finish and a brilliant World Cup run for England seeming like a distant memory. It’s been back to earth with a bump for Newcastle fans.
The doom and gloom has returned and the lack of transfer activity being the main source of worry and dejection for fans, and of course, Rafa.
We could be writing all day if we were to list the negatives at NUFC at the moment, but here we look at some positives ( yes there are some!) to come out of Pre Season so far:
1 – Dubravka continues to show his class
The Slovakian goalkeeper made a massive difference to the team towards the end of last season, and after managing to tie him down to a permanent deal he has gone from strength to strength during an otherwise ordinary pre season run. He’s pulled off a string of world class saves against Porto and was one of the few players to come away with credit against Braga too.
He is looking at absolute steal at £4m and the goalkeeping area is looking particularly strong with competition from Karl Darlow, Freddie Woodman and Rob Elliot.
2- Youngsters impress
A positive from the lack of transfer activity is that players from the youth setup are given more of a chance to impress with the first team.Sean Longstaff, Victor Fernandez and Callum Roberts all given a chance throughout pre season and more than holding their own.
Longstaff’s proposed move to Portsmouth has been cancelled so it is looking like he will play a part in the first part of the season. It been a while since a youngster has progressed through the ranks ( Dummett, Carroll most recently) so it would be good him given a chance. Fernandez and Roberts also look very tricky too, whilst big centre-back Yarney will have really benefited from a spell with the first-team.
3- Toothless attack has strengthened Rafa’s case for a striker and number 10
In a strange way, our poor pre season from can be a positive, as it may prove to Mike Ashley that we MUST strengthen in the attacking department.
Whether or not this makes a difference to Mr Ashley remains to be seen, but if we were winning and scoring freely , he may think that there is less of a need to strengthen. Joselu and Gayle have struggled and we simply cant rely on them for goals week in week out, and even Perez – last season’s top scorer – has been pretty wasteful.
The next 7 days will prove this right or wrong, but surely even Mike Ashley wouldn’t be stupid enough to risk another relegation and the financial loss that comes with it? Not signing a few more attackers would certainly risk that.
Yes , this may be clutching at straws, but around all the negativity it is important to remain positive, and hope that there is a change over the next week.
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