How will NUFC’s Championship stars fare in the Premier League?

Rafa Benitez identified the signings of Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle as key components to winning automatic promotion at the first attempt last season. Both completed outstanding seasons and further reinforced their quality, especially at Championship level. Jonjo Shelvey was also a key player for Newcastle last year and these three players provided the spine that helped us win the title.

Question marks remain though over their Premier League pedigree. How have they performed in the top flight previously and what can we expect next from them next year?

Matt Ritchie

Ritchie was arguably our player of the season last year. The £12m winger ended the season with 12 Championship goals and 7 assists, often scoring key goals when we needed them. A high work rate and being willing to responsibly on the pitch has endeared him to fans. This mirrored his previous season in the Championship, where his goal scoring exploits propelled Bournemouth into the Premiership for the first time a few seasons ago.

This led to Ritchie’s one and only season in the top flight in the 15/16 season. Naturally with the step up in quality, his stats were not quite as impressive but 4 goals and 6 assists was still a decent return for a winger in a newly promoted side. Bournemouth fans were divided over his departure and looking at the really poor form of his replacement, Jordan Ibe, I’m pretty sure they would welcome him back.

Ritchie remains one of our best players and the key is purchasing better players to help him out; often he was double marked last year. A greater threat from the other wing will only help him next year, probably one of the key reasons Rafa is so keen on a return for Andros Townsend.

Dwight Gayle

Gayle is the current holder of the iconic number 9 shirt and is coming back off a lethal season of 23 goals in just 26 appearances. Injuries held up the end of his season and he will be looking to prove his belongs at the highest level. United are linked with strikers on a daily basis and with Rafa favouring one up front, it will be interesting to see if he remains undoubted first choice or he is deployed as an impact sub.

It was this role he was predominantly used at Crystal palace when he plied his trade in the Premiership. 15 goals came at Palace from 60 odd appearances, though over half were from the bench. Gayle showed he is a good finisher and plays well on the shoulder but needs to underline he belongs in the Premiership with some early goals next year.

Jonjo Shelvey

Shelvey is perhaps the most experienced of the three in terms of top flight football. This was his first season outside the Premiership and his undoubted ability shone in the Championship. He can dictate a game and his range of passing is something that transforms our attacking options. Shelvey forced his way in the England team at one point following early promise at Liverpool and some excellent displays for Swansea.

Attitude and consistency however remains his Achilles heel. Now 25, his temperament still leaves a lot to be desired. High tackles and a habit of red cards or bans don’t help his cause. He was also accused on ‘downing tools’ at Swansea before competing his move up north to NUFC. Rafa is the best person to help him reach his potential and get back to previous excellent Premiership form.

All three players will be eager to deliver next season. Shelvey has a chance to get back into the England reckoning, especially with a real lack of talent in that area currently. Ritchie and Gayle are hungry to improve and will be better from previous experience of Premiership football. The key next season is to buy enough quality to not rely on these three players to continually bail us out; so when they have off days, which they will, others can step up.

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

About Simon Riddlesden

Lifelong Newcastle United fan and East Stand season ticket holder. Observations from a supporter who has followed NUFC during Champions League participation and through relegation, taking me from Milan to Scunthorpe.

132 thoughts on “How will NUFC’s Championship stars fare in the Premier League?

  1. Most of the players who have moved so far I am not really fussed over or were out of our price range. We were never going to spend 30 million on a goalie (Pickford) and 8 million for Tom Cleverly is about 7.9 million too much.

    On the other hand there is an article in The Guardian today showing some of the transfers throughout Europe. There actually seem to be good players for reasonable fees as long as the Premier League is not involved. It doesn’t sell papers or generate clicks so we will see us linked with the same old tired usual suspects.

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  2. it looks to me Rafa will get every penny.. but we need to make that money first.

    Once we ship we will probably buy 👿

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  3. Keith Downie‏Verified account
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    Florian Lejeune to Newcastle almost done. £8.7m deal should be sealed within 48 hours after agreement over structure of payment at the w/e.

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  4. Kim dont know much about that signing tbh but hope he turns out to be another Woodgate because we’ve needed a defender of that class for a very long time.

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  5. Stem:
    Kim dont know much about that signing tbh but hope he turns out to be another Woodgate because we’ve needed a defender of that class for a very long time.

    indeed mate

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  6. Rags saying we are after that Polish winger from Hull,I really hope so IMO he’s a top player and grafter just the kiddie

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  7. Huddlestone?

    I am 50/50 on a loan for Hart. I think Elliot is a good keeper but he has been a backup all of his career. Krul’s distribution is his downfall and Darlow seems a bit nervous. Sell them to raise funds and give Woodman another year to develop and keep Elliot as backup?

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  8. I will waste no tears on missing out on £20m Cairney like. Was never entirely convinced he is PL quality.

    Could it be that our ducks are now in a row and we could see things starting to move quite quickly now ??

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  9. Sharpy I hope so mate. I was starting to get worried Rafa would resign. Leaving the door open for Ashley’s yes man. Glad I’m wrong and Pardew isn’t coming back.

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  10. Icedog we sold Sissoko for 30 million mate so 5-10 million isn’t that ridiculous after all 😆 I wouldn’t pay 5 bob for him either. His a red card waiting to happen and was very lucky the refs in the championship didn’t notice, it will not happen in the PL.

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  11. Keith Downie‏Verified account
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    Florian Lejeune is currently undergoing his Newcastle United medical. We understand the French defender arrived on Tyneside earlier today.

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  12. Stem:
    Sharpy I hope so mate.I was starting to get worried Rafa would resign.Leaving the door open for Ashley’s yes man.Glad I’m wrong and Pardew isn’t coming back.

    Stem – it’s bothered me that the signings have arrived sooner, purely because of what’s needed in this window. But I can honestly say I have never feared Rafa leaving.
    He’s a smart bloke who has been round the block. If there was a rat off – he would have smelt it long before now and acted on it.

    I’m well aware I could be proved wrong on any given day, but I do think we have turned a corner with Ashley. I want him to sell up, no doubt about that!!, but I think he intends to back Rafa.

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  13. You have to have a grudging admiration for a self made billionaire who doesn’t give a ****. Falls asleep in board meetings if he finds them boring and drinks 12 pints and spews in a fireplace. He also dropped his pants in an Indian restaurant a few years ago. This is probably the tip of the iceberg.

    I wish he had been a better owner but he does have some comedy value. I also hope he will back Rafa and at least give us a team we can be proud to watch in the Premier League. A Cup would be nice as well.

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  14. Eric Sykes:
    You have to have a grudging admiration for a self made billionaire who doesn’t give a ****. Falls asleep in board meetings if he finds them boring and drinks 12 pints and spews in a fireplace. He also dropped his pants in an Indian restaurant a few years ago. This is probably the tip of the iceberg.

    I wish he had been a better owner but he does have some comedy value. I also hope he will back Rafa and at least give us a team we can be proud to watch in the Premier League. A Cup would be nice as well.

    Eric – if I were a billionaire I’d probably do the same to be fair ?. In fact, I ain’t greed, a millionaire ?

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  15. Is Tom Huddleston a good buy at £2m – I can’t really decide.

    Part of me thinks that’s nee money & I could see him being a decent back up to Shelvey. But he really wasn’t great for Hull last season & is 30 now.

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  16. Bloody hell, Everton aren’t hanging about are they?!.

    I saw they had signed Sandro but didn’t realise they signed Keane today as well.

    They’ll still have the Lukaku money to spend yet as well I reckon.

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  17. Yeah Everton mean business. One to watch. They have quite a clean style of play fdom what I have seen.

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  18. Sharpy17:
    Is Tom Huddleston a good buy at £2m – I can’t really decide.

    Part of me thinks that’s nee money & I could see him being a decent back up to Shelvey.But he really wasn’t great for Hull last season & is 30 now.

    Don’t want him mate,he’s that slow he couldn’t catch a cold,got to have a bit of pace these days,he’s not good enough to make up for lack of pace,noticed he was getting quite a few bookings in desperate tackles which players tend to do when they lose the little pace they had

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  19. Everton will need to spend another £250m to break into the top 6. That in my opinion shows how ****ed up this league is. They’re spending fortunes and will most likely still finish 7th considering they’ll have to go above Man Utd to move up one position. How messed up is that?

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  20. Icedog: Don’t want him mate,he’s that slow he couldn’t catch a cold,got to have a bit of pace these days,he’s not good enough to make up for lack of pace,noticed he was getting quite a few bookings in desperate tackles which players tend to do when they lose the little pace they had

    Ice – I agree mate, he used to be a good passer of the ball, which kinda made up for his lack of pace, but I don’t think the kid has that anymore either. If it was Huddlestone at £2m or Lucas – I’d go Lucas every time. I know they aren’t the only options but I think the link with Lucas has some truth about it personally.

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  21. Stuart79:
    Everton will need to spend another £250m to break into the top 6. That in my opinion shows how ****ed up this league is. They’re spending fortunes and will most likely still finish 7th considering they’ll have to go above Man Utd to move up one position. How messed up is that?

    Stu – I agree. There is a feeling that as well as they are doing in the window, they are merely strengthening their chances of 7th then hoping one or more of the 6 has a stinker for them to go higher.

    Fair play to them though, I guess Spurs did similar afew sewsons back & it’s paid off for them.

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  22. Lucas has had an odd relationship over the years with Pool fans. At one point they didn’t like him at all. I know he’s had some injuries over last few seasons but I do rate him all the same.

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  23. Stuart79:
    Finally! The longest transfer saga in history is over.

    longest in history??

    Ive told you a million times, stop exaggerating! 😉

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  24. H Rednapp says he can sign five or six players with the money he saved by “not”signing J Terry,the greedy git,worlds gone money mad

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  25. icedog:
    H Rednapp says he can sign five or six players with the money he saved by “not”signing J Terry,the greedy git,worlds gone money mad

    wow

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  26. It’s always a worry when you blow the budget on one player that should he get injured you’re stumped .

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  27. From what I have seen Villa don’t have a big budget due to the financial rules in the fizzy.

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  28. Looking at the pictures of LeJuene one thing struck me – how much better the shirt is now. I am not one for getting every replica shirt but a lot of kids get them. The first thing was to get rid of Wonga and go to the traditional black and white, none of the blue streaky arse flap. Just as important they got rid of that giant white square on the back and now have basic stripes with red lettering and numbers. Before, if you didn’t get a name and number on the shirt it was just an eyesore and I am sure that would have added another 20 quid to an already exorbitant price.

    The only shirt I have got is a retro one bought on kitbag for $30. Looks a lot like this years shirt except it has the blue star logo.

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  29. Stuart79:
    Finally! The longest transfer saga in history is over.

    Be glad you don’t support Man U – Pogba, De Gea, Ronaldo, Van Nistlerooy to name a few.

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  30. For a change, a very interesting story in the Chron about Lejeune’s back story. Signed by City only as part of an attempt to lure Pep to the Ethihad.

    Apparently 2 more signings imminent. I’m not sure about this Polish guy. He’s 30 and a gambling addict. Rings bells. Hope it’s not him or the totally overrated Huddlestone.

    Also loving the comedy gold of Ashley’s behaviour. Kind of explains the madness he’s wreaked on the Toon over the years.

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  31. I’m desperately hoping they’ll be more than decent Kim. We have more than enough decent players.

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  32. georgio:
    For a change, a very interesting story in the Chron about Lejeune’s back story. Signed by City only as part of an attempt to lure Pep to the Ethihad.

    Apparently 2 more signings imminent. I’m not sure about this Polish guy. He’s 30 and a gambling addict. Rings bells. Hope it’s not him or the totally overrated Huddlestone.

    Also loving the comedy gold of Ashley’s behaviour. Kind of explains the madness he’s wreaked on the Toon over the years.

    Who are you talking about? Jamie Oliver’s evil twin Paul Merson? Same giant balloon head and dopey look, although Jamie has written a couple of good cookbooks whereas Merse just blurts out the first stupid thing that enters his head.

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  33. And here’s my conspiracy theory. I think John Terry is at Villa thinking that if they are not in the playoff spots come Christmas that Bruce will get the chop and JT will ride in on his blue steed to the rescue as player manager. He is 37 in December, nobody can believe he can play 46 games in the Championship. Do you think he will fancy kitting up for Barnsley or Preston on a Tuesday night?

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  34. icedog:
    ERIC any good for you seems very cheap

    https://www.freeseetv.com/pre-i1/tvfox/index.html?Affid=1512&s1=&s2=&s3=&s4=37&s5=578246

    hope it works?

    Cheers Icedog: But now we are back in the PL I get every game live on my TV. A bar in Chicago also shows every game so I can watch it with fellow Mag fans if I want. There should be a good turnout. There would often be 20 or more for Championship games and I am sure if we have a better team and obviously are playing better opposition that that will become normal.

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  35. Now that Lejuen is in there are 2 questions:

    1. Does Lascelles remain Captain? I say no, as I think Clark and Lejuen will be first choice.

    2. What about MBemba? The interesting thing here is that Rafa might actually rate him. He said he didn’t play because his lack of English meant he couldn’t communicate very well. He is also a bit shy. Some intensive English lessons would do him good as he seemed OK in McClaren’s teams and certainly better than Lascelles back then.

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  36. I wouldn’t get overly excited folks, I reckon one of the signs might be this young lad Arsenal released – Stefan O’Connor?.

    I think signing will start moving along now, and I reckon the hold up has probably been Carr leaving & the new guy getting up to speed with everything.

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  37. Now now Aussie . . .

    Mbemba could be great alongside Lejeune if he really is that good. I saw one game where Mbemba played at right back and he was brilliant, scoring with a long shot too.

    Jacob Murphy might be the next one in.

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  38. Well chuffed that we have finally signed Lejeune. Should be a good addition to the team. 4 decent CB’s now assuming Hanley is leaving.

    I think Jacob Murphy may be next in… would love to see us go for Hernandez… he was excellent at ManU.

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  39. georgio:
    Now now Aussie . . .

    Mbemba could be great alongside Lejeune if he really is that good. I saw one game where Mbemba played at right back and he was brilliant, scoring with a long shot too.

    Jacob Murphy might be the next one in.

    That was a good guess,he’s traveling up to Tyneside now,picture on f/b showing him at station someone took photo of his ticket which said Newcastle,funny he should travel by rail

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  40. Ice, I thought the pic of the tickets was his agents travelling up yesterday not the lad himself ?

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  41. kimtoon:
    Ice, I thought the pic of the tickets was his agents travelling up yesterday not the lad himself ?

    Your right mate it was his agents,don’t know how good he is,I would prefer the Polish myself

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