The Rafalution – the beginning of a bright future for NUFC?

 

Last March, on the 5th of March 2016 to be precise, I never felt so low as a Newcastle United supporter. We as a club were like the Titanic and were sinking fast. Our latest defeat came to Bournemouth under the stewardship (I say loosely) or misguidance of Steve McLaren.

A 3-1 defeat left us entrenched in the relegation zone with games running out. Despite deafening calls from those at St James for him to go, he remained defiant and was adamant he would lead the team out against Leicester.

At the time, there was much speculation as to whether the board would finally yield the axe as meetings were convened between Moncur, Charnley, Ashley and Carr. Finally, on the 9th of March McLaren had been sacked and Rafa Benitez had been appointed.

Rafa, the man who had achieved so much at Liverpool, Chelsea, Napoli and Valencia amongst other clubs, had agreed a 3-year deal with the immediate remit of trying to keep the Mags in the Premier League. Sadly, this was not going to be the case, but as many thought he would eye the exit door, an outpouring of love and affection for the man kept him in charge for the 2016-2017 season.

As life began in the Championship, two defeats, one in London to Fulham and to Huddersfield, saw us languish in 21st, leaving many fearing for our immediate future. These fears seem to be misplaced as a much-improved performance against Reading saw the lads climb the table and we did not look back.

Fast forward to May the 10th 2017 and we find ourselves back in the Premier League with part 1 of the ‘Rafalution’ complete. Whilst there have been a lot of hiccups on the way and a fear that a lack of investment could have derailed our promotion push in January, we sensationally won the league in typical scintillating fashion right at the last minute of the season. Cue mass celebration from Newcastle fans worldwide. My throat is still sore from the celebrations and the cheering as a Jack Grealish equalizer sent us all into unrestrained elation.

As we plan for life back in the Premier League, a meeting took place earlier this week between Rafa and Ashley. The media are quick to band figures around of how much Rafa would request, whether that be £70m, £100m or £150m. What was most important to gain from that meeting was that both Rafa and Mike can work together to rebuild Newcastle.

In Mike’s ten years, Newcastle nearly qualified for the Champions League in 2012 when Pardew guided us to 5th place. For me, this was a wasted opportunity as investment of around £40-50 million that summer could have kept us in and around the top 8 from 2012-2013 onwards.

Instead we went backwards and almost got relegated in 2013 finishing 16th with a last day salvation in 2015 after beating West Ham. In Rafa we finally have the man with excellent expertise, the right contacts and a real plan to bring success back to Newcastle United.

Pundits were quick to dispel rumours that Rafa is happy on Tyneside, with claims that he’d walk this summer, but going by the picture of Mike, Lee and Rafa, the three looked quite pally as they celebrated our title victory on Sunday. It was a positive sign ahead of their crunch talks.

Yesterday we received the news we’ve all been waiting for. After a ‘positive’ and ‘constructive’ meeting with Ashley and Charnley, Benitez has confirmed he will be remaining in charge of Newcastle United.

Benitez can unlock the door to Newcastle’s potential, but Ashley’s investment and backing holds the key. Now it is over to him and Charnley to stick to their guns and deliver the goods to Benitez this summer and the years to come. Get it right and we could be looking at a bright future.

Let part 2 of the Rafalution commence.

(By Gary Jackaman)

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at NUFCblogsubmissions@gmail.com & we’ll get back to you!)

 

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

67 thoughts on “The Rafalution – the beginning of a bright future for NUFC?

  1. great we have link fom last thread 😆 😆 good write up,pleased things are settled just waiting for the rags to pick holes in it,now the fun begins the number of players we are linked with,jabba must really give Rafa the power of signings because i couldnt see players over 26 coming to the club as this m/city guy is 29 if its true like,ime also very pleased that back stabber Carr is out of the picture

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  2. Thanks Gary, nice read and I’m looking forward to the new season with renewed optimism I haven’t felt in many a season.
    Great news yesterday about Rafa staying and Ashley backing him properly, looks like lessons may of been learned at last. Important that the fans stay behind the team even if we get off to a slow start as likely there will be a host of new faces.

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  3. Bloody good start to the summer! New shirt and sponsor released, Rafa’s hanging out with his family and we’re linked with 5,000 new signings. Hope one isn’t Mangala for a start. Fernando is behind -ho at City and I don’t rate him that highly. We’ll see but it looks like pretty much a whole new team in August.

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  4. I would go to Chelsea to get a loan striker. Rafa must have contacts there and may even know of some of the younger players who are coming through. Chelsea have tons of players out on loan and have a history of not being able to fully realise the talent they have, De Bruyne, Lukaku, even Luis they sold and bought back.

    I wouldn’t mind us buying a solid team and loaning the (potential) star players. Ashley wants the club to be self sustaining which means Rafa will have to wait for some of the money until it is paid over the next few years. I would much rather see some wheeling and dealing this year than a statement signing. Mind, I still think we will break our transfer record as quality forwards do not come cheap. Even a pissant club like Palace paid 28 million for Benteke.

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  5. Kimtoon: was that Tammy whatshisname any good for Bristol City? Good enough for PL? Good enough for us as second striker?

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  6. Eric Sykes:
    I would go to Chelsea to get a loan striker. Rafa must have contacts there and may even know of some of the younger players who are coming through. Chelsea have tons of players out on loan and have a history of not being able to fully realise the talent they have, De Bruyne, Lukaku, even Luis they sold and bought back.

    I wouldn’t mind us buying a solid team and loaning the (potential) star players. Ashley wants the club to be self sustaining which means Rafa will have to wait for some of the money until it is paid over the next few years. I would much rather see some wheeling and dealing this year than a statement signing. Mind, I still think we will break our transfer record as quality forwards do not come cheap. Even a pissant club like Palace paid 28 million for Benteke.

    Agree mate.

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  7. Did Villa really spend £70m last season? And yet people slag us off for spending. £50m (but turning a profit) and say we should have won the league earlier?!

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  8. Fk me we turned a profit of £30m this season and people accuse of being the biggest spenders and underachievers?

    Villa spent £70m (£20m more than us), with a net total of MINUS £32m – and finish well off the playoffs – and nobody bats an eyelid?!

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  9. Moyes says Sunderland are the biggest club in the Championship. Give me a break. That is Villa, it was arguable last year whether it was Villa or us that were the biggest and that is without talking about fallen giants like Leeds and Forest. If Villa or Leeds could get their sh!t together they would be twice as big as the Mackems.

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  10. My brother lives in Huddersfield and I visited him last year. That whole area is crying out for a good team, even though it is Rugly League country. If Leeds could just get back the PL there is so much potential there and hardly any competition as the likes of Barnsley and Huddersfield have never been big teams.

    Sunderland the biggest team in the Championship 🙂 🙂 🙂

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  11. Eric Sykes:
    Kimtoon: was that Tammy whatshisname any good for Bristol City? Good enough for PL? Good enough for us as second striker?

    He is an excellent prospect imo mate. I said at the start of last season that he’d be one to watch and he was. Would love to get him at Toon, City fans love the lad.

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  12. There are fewer things funnier than a deluded mackem Eric. Have they not noticed Villa, Leeds, and Derby’s attendances for the Championship.

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  13. They won’t even be the biggest NE team in the Championship next season with Boro going down with them ?

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  14. What’s this then? Happy Toon fans. No ****ing just a bit of fun with the mackems.
    I guess there’ll now be a fairly long lull when everyone has a holiday or break. I’m betting Rafa will still be glued to his phone wherever he is. Great manager.

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  15. Sunderland won’t get promoted. Villa will win the league I think as Bruce has always got teams promoted from that league and also I fancy there’s some good sides like Reading, Sheff Wed, Fulham, Leeds and Boro will be ok too. Tough league next season… 🙂

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  16. Do we want to keep any of this lot, I don’t know:

    Riviere
    Saivet
    de Jong
    Gamez
    Haidara
    Hanley
    Colback
    Lazaar
    Krul
    Sels
    Gouffran
    Murphy

    And that’s before we even consider some that Rafa has not played as much as you might have thought:

    Mitro
    MBemba
    Perez

    Or the ones that have played but may not be up to the standard of the PL:

    Darlow
    Lascelles
    Diame

    I know they are talking about 7 players coming in, but we could easily see 10 leave as well.

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  17. Eric Sykes:
    Do we want to keep any of this lot, I don’t know:

    Riviere
    Saivet
    de Jong
    Gamez
    Haidara
    Hanley
    Colback
    Lazaar
    Krul
    Sels
    Gouffran
    Murphy

    And that’s before we even consider some that Rafa has not played as much as you might have thought:

    Mitro
    MBemba
    Perez

    Or the ones that have played but may not be up to the standard of the PL:

    Darlow
    Lascelles
    Diame

    I know they are talking about 7 players coming in, but we could easily see 10 leave as well.

    Eric – from your 1st group I’d probably keep Hanley for now. Yes he will need upgrading, but I think he’s a decent 4th choice defender and could do a job when needed.
    The money Rafa will get this summer will only go so far so keep him for now.

    Your next 3, I’d keep Mbemba & Perez – unless we get a £15m plus offer for them. Both still young and are good players when in form.
    Mitrovic I’d sell and if possible get someone like Chris Wood from Leeds to replace him.

    I would keep all 3 of the last list. Diame is not a 10, but is a decent midfielder. I personally like the other 2. Darlow has improved a lot this season and a decent back up keeper. Lascelles has played a decent amount of the season with a hernia. He’s also young and improving a lot.
    There’s price tags of £25m for Keane and Gibson this season. I reckon Lascelles will develop and get better next season so who knows. Hold on to him another year and his price could double – as could Mbemba.

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  18. Everron could well lose Barkley and Lukaku this summer. That will smart and could drag them firmly into mid table without top replacements.

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  19. shamrock:
    Everron could well lose Barkley and Lukaku this summer. That will smart and could drag them firmly into mid table without top replacements.

    Sham – i don’t think Koeman will mind too much if he looses Barkley, don’t think he’s bought into the hype at all there. But can’t see him being thrilled at loosing Lukaku, and whatever money they get for him will have to go on forwards – coz at the mo, they have no decent 2nd striker either.

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  20. Sharpy: of that 1st group I don’t mind if we sell all of them except maybe Timmy-the-Hoof as I think he is better than Darlow and him and Elliot are about equal. The rest I would keep unless we get good offers and/or Rafa feels he can upgrade and he needs the money from the sale to do so.

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  21. I would have liked to have seen a few of Krul’s games in Holland to see if his distribution is any better than it was at NUFC. I have had a suspicion that he was forced to hoof it because his outlet balls were to Taylor and Williamson who didn’t want the ball. I know Rafa would like the option to play out from the back sometimes so if Timmy cannot then I would sell and keep Darlow.

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  22. Eric – I was quite impressed with Hadaira to be honest on Sunday considering he’d not played for so long. I still think he has potential. I’d also keep De Jong as I think there’s a player in there somewhere!

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  23. Eric his distribution has improved 8%, but his saved per goal has gone down from 1.5 to 1.3.

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  24. Depends on the tactics being used by his manager as well. Comparing this season to last under different managers is a bit pointless

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  25. Wasn’t Kruls contract up? – he signed a years extention before going on loan or have I made that up?!

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  26. Not sure mate, but I think he will move on either way unless he is happy fighting the other 2 keepers. Surely Selz is gone too..

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  27. I think Tim could be a back up keeper at a Chelsea or somewhere like that next season personally.

    Stu – I agree re De Jong. I think a fit De Jong could be a really good player to have in the squad – but I worry about the toll those injuries have taken on him to be honest.

    I would defo be handing Anita a new contract though. We’d be daft to loose him now after finding out he’s actually a RB in England rather than a DCM.

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  28. Sharpy17: Eric – from your 1st group I’d probably keep Hanley for now.Yes he will need upgrading, but I think he’s a decent 4th choice defender and could do a job when needed.
    The money Rafa will get this summer will only go so far so keep him for now.

    Your next 3, I’d keep Mbemba & Perez – unless we get a £15m plus offer for them.Both still young and are good players when in form.
    Mitrovic I’d sell and if possible get someone like Chris Wood from Leeds to replace him.

    I would keep all 3 of the last list.Diame is not a 10, but is a decent midfielder.I personally like the other 2.Darlow has improved a lot this season and a decent back up keeper.Lascelles has played a decent amount of the season with a hernia.He’s also young and improving a lot.
    There’s price tags of £25m for Keane and Gibson this season.I reckon Lascelles will develop and get better next season so who knows.Hold on to him another year and his price could double – as could Mbemba.

    exactly. can’t agree more.

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  29. I would like to keep De Yong. I’d like to give him at least 1 season mostly injury free to see what he can do. I do think there is a good player in there as Stuart says. I’d keep him. I’d keep Anita too. Not bothered about Timmy. I’d actually keep Murphy too as good back up. He did the biz when we played him

    I’d let Mitro go… missed too many chances for me whereas Murphy took the chances he had. I’d keep Haidara one more season too as he did ok when he came on…

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  30. Eric re the loan players

    Riviere 0 goals and 1 assist from 15, saivet 1 ga and 2 assists from 24 bye

    however de Jong 6g and 1 from 19 is a perhaps

    Thauvin 15g and 8 assists for Marseilles. Still technically ours i think

    Leave to Rafa to sort out the wheat from the chaff.

    Still think we need 6 good players.

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  31. Icedog: Just wish he was half as good as his passion for the club and fans,shame really

    He worked really hard with good altitude. He may shine in another team. I wish the best luck to him.

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  32. Krul is under contract until June 2018 so we could get a fee for him.

    Maybe Spurs should buy him as a backup. Remember that game where they had like 28 shots and we won 1 nil.

    I don’t think De Jong has been starting every game in Holland. Sham probably has the stats. I don’t know if that is fitness or form but it is a bit of a worry.

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  33. I wouldn’t mind keeping Haidara for another season to see what he can do. He is probably cheap and that would be a factor that should be taken into consideration.

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  34. Tell you what though, I hope we don’t waste any of our transfer kitty on those 2 from Man City we’ve been linked with!!

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  35. Christian Atsu;

    “(There have been) no conversations. I have not heard from Newcastle. What I will say, though, is that I owe them thanks. They have given me an opportunity – it is a big club.”

    “Whatever happens in the future I thank the fans, Rafa and everyone at the club. I cannot say what will happen with me. i cannot predict football. I will go back to Chelsea first then we see.”

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  36. shamrock:
    Christian Atsu;

    “(There have been) no conversations. I have not heard from Newcastle. What I will say, though, is that I owe them thanks. They have given me an opportunity – it is a big club.”

    “Whatever happens in the future I thank the fans, Rafa and everyone at the club. I cannot say what will happen with me. i cannot predict football. I will go back to Chelsea first then we see.”

    Sham – I know you’re not sold on him, but for £6.5m I’d snap the lad up me like. I think he’s looked better the more games he’s played, and he has an excellent attitude.

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  37. Biggest shame is Mitro, his lay offs have been excellent most of the time and he always puts in a good shift, alas he doesn’t score the goals we need, such a shame.

    Anita HAS to stay, he’s a very good RB.
    Rafa seems to rate De Jong from what I have read, I still want to see what a fit De Jong can do.

    Great attitude that from Atsu as well.
    No Man City cast offs for me either.

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  38. kimtoon:
    Biggest shame is Mitro, his lay offs have been excellent most of the time andhe always puts in a good shift, alas he doesn’t score the goals we need, such a shame.

    Anita HAS to stay, he’s a very good RB.
    Rafa seems to rate De Jong from what I have read, I still want to see what a fit De Jong can do.

    Great attitude that from Atsu as well.
    No Man City cast offs for me either.

    Kim – I’d take Delph & Ianacho from City. But Mangala & Fernado – not for me like.

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  39. That Mangala was 42 million if I remember right … ????????? absolutely no way should we even think about him. I think it’s just the press stirring the ****e once again…

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  40. Mangala is a big unit and looks good out in Spain. But he’s not suited to the faster paced PL. If he were that good, would City have sent him on loan to go & spend £50 on Stones?!.

    I’m guessing anyone on a fee of £40m plus, will also be on wages that put him out of our pool of targets as well.

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  41. Dubai Toon:
    That Mangala was 42 million if I remember right … absolutely no way should we even think about him. I think it’s just the press stirring the ****e once again…

    yeah, there will be a lot of that now mate, it’ll give us a few laughs if nowt else.

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  42. I think Lucas from Lpool could be a realistic purchase though. Rafa brought him to Lpool I think & he’s still an admirer of the holding midfielder.
    I know he’s 30, but he has bags of experience and would be good cover for our young inexperienced CBs.

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  43. Me too – Lucas is a very good holding midfielder and all the top clubs have players well over 30. Juventus specialise in it. Dani Alves is 34.

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  44. I like Jay Rodriguez from Saints as well. I know he had a bad injury but he’s still only 27. Him on the left & Ritchie on the right of a CF and I’d be pretty confident of goals.

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  45. Are the play offs home and away over 2 legs or is it just one match and winner goes to final? Just curious.

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  46. Dubai Toon:
    Are the play offs home and away over 2 legs or is it just one match and winner goes to final? Just curious.

    2 legs I think Dubai, then off to the finals. Hopefully Fulham don’t make if we are interested in Tom Cairney

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  47. Yeah, it looks like Fulham/Reading is on Saturday and Tuesday, then Wednesday/Huddersfield on Sunday and Wednesday.

    Fulham and Wednesday are better than Reading and Huddersfield, but these playoffs are a crap shoot. In a vacuum, I’d like to see Fulham or Wednesday make it, but I selfishly want Reading to win, since I think they’d be the weakest of the four and would theoretically make our season that little bit easier next year.

    I also don’t think Reading and Huddersfield would be able to re-tool for the Premier League as easily, and they don’t really have any players we’d be interested in. Fulham and Wednesday, on the other hand, each have at least a player or two that could potentially improve our squad and do a job at the next level.

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  48. Charlie Prince:
    Yeah, it looks like Fulham/Reading is on Saturday and Tuesday, then Wednesday/Huddersfield on Sunday and Wednesday.

    Fulham and Wednesday are better than Reading and Huddersfield, but these playoffs are a crap shoot. In a vacuum, I’d like to see Fulham or Wednesday make it, but I selfishly want Reading to win, since I think they’d be the weakest of the four and would theoretically make our season that little bit easier next year.

    I also don’t think Reading and Huddersfield would be able to re-tool for the Premier League as easily, and they don’t really have any players we’d be interested in. Fulham and Wednesday, on the other hand, each have at least a player or two that could potentially improve our squad and do a job at the next level.

    Charlie – what day is Sheffields 2nd leg game on? ??

    I agree about the play offs. There’s been years where 6th place has gone up having finished the season 20pts worse off than 3rd place. But to be fair, the 4 teams contesting it this year are all close on pts, so whoever gets it will deserve it I reckon.
    Agree about Reading & Huddersfield though. For the same reasons I want one of those to come up too.

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  49. Leeds missed out so what about signing their CB Pontus Jansson. He was awesome against us and wouldn’t be that expensive.

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  50. Sharpy-

    I totally missed that at first, but that’s pretty good. Could be a sort of Abbott & Costello routine. 😆

    Georgio-

    I haven’t watched Leeds at all and don’t know anything about Jansson – how good is he? Seems like he would be an upgrade on Hanley for sure. Would he be better than Lascelles, or more challenge him for a spot alongside Clark?

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  51. Welcome to the dystopian nightmare. Trumpy, Trump Trump calls the Turkey dictator to congratulate him for taking away civil liberties in that country and doesn’t call to congratulate the new President of France for defeating the Front National. Now he will put in a Patsy to investigate his ties with Russia. YCMIU.

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  52. Anyway, it would have been comedy gold if that last second chance had gone in by Celta yesterday. I watched the game and it was so close. Jose and his Mancs would have had a melt down. C’mon Ajax…

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  53. I think we should sign Shawcross, Lucas, Cazorla (free), Iheanicho (loan to buy), Andy Carroll, Sigurdsson and then a left back (unless young Mbabu is ready) and left winger from somewhere.

    Out;
    Selz, Hanley, Gamez, Good, Lazaar, Colback, Thauvin, Gouffy, Mitro, Ameobi, Diame, Vuckic, Perez.

    Squad:
    Elliott, Darlow, Krul.
    Dummett, new LB or Mbabu.
    Clarke, Lascelles, Shawcross, Mbemba.
    Yedlin, Anita.
    Aarons, new LW.
    Hayden, Lucas, Shelvey, Cazorla.
    Sigurdsson, Ritchie, Aarons, new LW, De Jong.
    Carroll, Murphy, Gayle, Iheanicho.

    26 players. Loads of competition.

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  54. shamrock:
    I think we should sign Shawcross, Lucas, Cazorla (free), Iheanicho (loan to buy), Andy Carroll, Sigurdsson and then a left back (unless young Mbabu is ready) and left winger from somewhere.

    Out;
    Selz, Hanley, Gamez, Good, Lazaar, Colback, Thauvin, Gouffy, Mitro, Ameobi, Diame, Vuckic, Perez.

    Squad:
    Elliott, Darlow, Krul.
    Dummett, new LB or Mbabu.
    Clarke, Lascelles, Shawcross, Mbemba.
    Yedlin, Anita.
    Aarons, new LW.
    Hayden, Lucas, Shelvey, Cazorla.
    Sigurdsson, Ritchie, Aarons, new LW, De Jong.
    Carroll, Murphy, Gayle, Iheanicho.

    26 players. Loads of competition.

    Looks good that Sham 🙂

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  55. Yeah I think its realistic too Kim.

    Lucas and Cazorla would e free.
    Iheanicho loan to buy (out of favor, maybe initial £5m loan fee).
    Sigurdsson probably £25m.
    Shawcross probably £15m.
    Andy Carroll £10m.
    Left winger maybe on loan or up to £10m.
    Total £65m.

    Sales:
    Selz £4m,
    Hanley £4m,
    Gamez, Good, Ameobi, Gouffy, Vuckic free,
    Lazaar £2.5,
    Colback £3m,
    Thauvin £12m,
    Mitro £8m,
    Diame £2.5m,
    Perez £8m.

    Total around £40m in sales.

    Net spend £25m-£30m plus agent fees.

    Very manageable and a nice squad at the end with flexibility to go with a number 10 or 2 strikers.

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  56. shamrock:
    I think we should sign Shawcross, Lucas, Cazorla (free), Iheanicho (loan to buy), Andy Carroll, Sigurdsson and then a left back (unless young Mbabu is ready) and left winger from somewhere.

    Out;
    Selz, Hanley, Gamez, Good, Lazaar, Colback, Thauvin, Gouffy, Mitro, Ameobi, Diame, Vuckic, Perez.

    Squad:
    Elliott, Darlow, Krul.
    Dummett, new LB or Mbabu.
    Clarke, Lascelles, Shawcross, Mbemba.
    Yedlin, Anita.
    Aarons, new LW.
    Hayden, Lucas, Shelvey, Cazorla.
    Sigurdsson, Ritchie, Aarons, new LW, De Jong.
    Carroll, Murphy, Gayle, Iheanicho.

    26 players. Loads of competition.

    All good players Sham, I am just worried about getting them on the pitch. Cazorla and Carroll have horrible injury records.

    Lucas would be a really good signing and I think we could get him.

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  57. Eric I think we will go 1 striker more often than not, so not too worried if carroll is only around half the season. He keeps proving he can do the business when he comes back and would do more in a season carrying an injury than a fully fit mitro imo.

    Cazorla would bring class and experience as a squad player.

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