With Saturday’s win edging us tantalisingly close to securing Premier League safety, it’s natural to wonder what the future may hold for the club moving forward.
Starting with the upcoming summer transfer window, here’s a few concerns I have:
The Newcastle skipper has been without any shadow of a doubt our best player this season. He leads by example both on and off the pitch and has showed to makings of not only a brilliant captain (the youngest in the Premier League), but a commanding centre-back. It’s been reported by several national papers that Chelsea will make him their top target this summer. The lad is clearly thriving at NUFC, but if a big boy like Chelsea came in an trebled his salary, offering Champions League football and Mike Ashley a huge fee, I’d naturally worry. It’s been suggested over the weekend that a £30m could be arriving from the Blues in the summer, but I’d like to think Ashley would realise his vital importance to NUFC. I don’t see how we replace what he gives us.
The Brazilian has gone from strength to strength since arriving on loan from Stamford Bridge in January. I thought he’d be raw and have a questionable attitude to match, but he’s showed real quality, skill, has got stuck in and delivered 2 goals and 3 assists already. You could tell from his recent interview that he’d be all for signing permanently at St James’ Park this summer, but there’s 3 factors that could yet change that eventuality. A) Will Chelsea (and their potential new manager) want to sell a 21-year-old talent impressing out on loan? B ) Will Ashley actually fork out the money that’ll be required to sign him permanently? We’d have to break our transfer record if you ask me. C) other clubs will be alerted by his form and clear talent. If Ashley digs his heels then an unwanted bidding war could occur – and that never tends to favour NUFC.
Now this one I’m more relaxed about, but there’s an underlying concern given his recent lack of game time (wasn’t even in Saturday’s squad) and Athletic Bilbao’s persistent interest in him. Rafa clearly doesn’t want to sell, and Merino himself has suggested he’s happy, but I worry that Ashley may listen to offers if he feels he can make a hefty profit on the Spaniard who signed for just £7m a few months ago.
Will we keep a hold of these three players?