With the departure of Rafael Benitez ahead of the 2019-20, Newcastle fans braced themselves for a bumpy ride ahead. It’s been far from an easy season, but few thought that Steve Bruce could deliver an element of Premier League stability.
With the dust barely settled on a difficult season for a multitude of reasons, the question needs to be asked – where do we go from here?
Forget the takeover for now
Under Mike Ashley’s reign the club has repeatedly made the headlines but for all the wrong reasons. This time it’s no different. As the league season rumbled on post project restart amidst a flurry of disappointing results, the talk was of takeover and not the team itself.
Regardless of whether talks have hit a roadblock, it is time for Steve Bruce and his scouting team to find the answers to the questions that have posed the most problems for Newcastle this season. One of them is goals.
Football predictions for the Premier League throughout the season have struggled to make much of Newcastle and it’s not at all surprising. With central midfielder Jonjo Shelvey the club’s top scorer in the league with a paltry six goals, it really has alarm bells ringing up front.
How to rate the current crop
The four forwards the club currently has on its books have only managed eight goals between them all season, and only five in the league. One encouraging factor is that when goals have come, there are contributions from around the pitch, the problem is there aren’t enough of them.
The biggest question mark obviously come squarely down on Brazilian striker Joelinton who arrived from Hoffenheim last summer for an incredible £40 million pounds. Home grown talent Andy Carroll has also come under criticism, failing to find the form that saw him come to prominence at St James Park some time ago.
Despite big spends and local loyalties it’s led Dwight Gayle to being first choice up front for the manager.
Where does Bruce turn to?
It is looking difficult for Bruce. It looks unlikely, with the current failure around big summer signing Joelinton, that hefty fees will be spent again.
There have been hints in recent days that the manager is looking to bring at least two new signings through the door to bolster his squad. It’s not known whether either of those will come up front.
There have been highlights to this season for sure. Matty Longstaff’s belter against Manchester United, victories against Chelsea and Spurs as well, even a reasonable cup run. It might not have been everything we’ve wanted but Bruce has brought a certain amount of stability and there should be pause for thought on that.
But the fact of the matter remains, to progress next season there need to be more goals.
Many of the top 10 betting sites in the UK are understandably still to publish their odds for the coming season. Ahead of a busy transfer window stretching into October, a month after the season restart, it represents a solid chance for Newcastle to strengthen the ranks, particularly up top.