Fulham’s improvement in form, coinciding with Newcastle’s decline, has raised the possibility of a third relegation from the Premier League for the Magpies. The club have lost the services of key attacking trio Callum Wilson, Allan Saint-Maximin, and Miguel Almiron over a crucial period.
Their recent absences could loom large over Newcastle’s fate, which may result in a drop into the Championship. Steve Bruce is under fire from all quarters amid the malaise that has set around St James’ Park. Failed takeovers and underwhelming performances have left supporters in an unforgiving mood.
Momentum is clearly slowing, with the club now backed in the football betting odds at 6/5 to tumble into the second tier. It would be a disaster for the Magpies to endure yet another rebuild in the Championship. However, the past two times Newcastle have been relegated, they have responded with immediate promotions back to the Premier League.
Chris Hughton led the charge into the 2009/10 campaign before Rafa Benitez led a similar resurgence in the 2016/17 season. If Bruce were to oversee a relegation, he would be unlikely to retain his place in the dugout. But what about the playing squad? We’ll now look at what could be leftover in the ranks if the Magpies faced the drop into the Championship again.
Newcastle are well stocked in the keeping ranks with three possibilities should the worst happen. If first-choice Martin Dubravka remains, he should retain his spot. If he were to leave, then Karl Darlow is on hand to replace him, after performing well in relief this term. Alternatively, Freddie Woodman could slot straight into the team due to his excellent performances while on loan at Swansea this year. It’s certainly a position of strength for the short and long term.
This could be a trickier proposition. Jamaal Lascelles would attract attention from the Premier League, leaving the Magpies without their skipper and best defender. Federico Fernandez has a year-option left on his contract, but his experience would be useful if he could remain. Fabian Schar and Ciaran Clark have been reliable enough and would form a solid tandem in the second tier. Elsewhere, Jamal Lewis could line-up a return to Norwich, while Javier Manquillo might be a target of European sides. Paul Dummett and Emil Krafth would be a solid full-back pairing at that level.
Perhaps the Magpies’ biggest issue is their lack of quality in the middle of the park. It is doubtful that any of their midfielders would move on, other than perhaps Matty Longstaff. However, he and Sean Longstaff could be a good pairing in the second tier. It would give them vital time to develop their skills before a potential return to the Premier League.
Jonjo Shelvey’s tenure could be up along with Jeff Hendrick, who has flattered to deceive. Isaac Hayden has been reliable, although he could attract attention from lower Premier League sides.
Wilson was brought in from Bournemouth after their relegation, and at the age of 29, the forward is unlikely willing to play in the Championship considering his ability. The same could be said of Ryan Fraser, who has been disappointing in his first season at the Magpies. Considering their wages and the potential transfer fees, the club may decide to move the duo on even if they were willing to stay on Tyneside.
Joelinton could benefit from a lower standard of football unless his wages are deemed too expensive. A loan move could beckon for the Brazilian. Dwight Gayle was Newcastle’s saviour in the 2016/17 season, scoring 23 goals two years ago. His contract is up at the end of the season, and although at the age of 31, he would be more than useful in the Championship. The final third could be Newcastle’s biggest concern for a season in the second tier.
Newcastle could well dig themselves out of trouble at the bottom of the Premier League. It could be more important than ever given their potential outlook for a Championship squad.