Now, this is always a controversial one especially as we’re still far from certain to stay up despite Sunday’s brilliant result. The other factor of course is who will be in charge of the Club next season either/and as Owner and Manager.
So, yes a lot of conjecture but we’ll be linked with hundreds of players whatever the situation is and whatever division we’re in and therein lies another tail. Remember that you can only have 25 in your squad and we already have.
So, to get some in some have to go – and I’d also argue that funds will need to be raised if we’re to boost what could be a small summer budget should Mike Ashley remain.
First up is is Jonjo Shelvey. Simply far too inconsistent for one of our biggest earners, not mobile enough for today’s Premier League and as a potential leader does not by or example or authority. One pass or good strike every very few games is not good enough so for me he goes.
Then to Jeff Hendrick. A goal and a near MotM performance on debut looked promising but since then we’ve learned why Burnley were happy to let him go free. Wouldn’t be sorry to see him go – especially if he continues to limit the two Longstaff’s game time.
Dwight Gayle. Will never be a consistent Premier League scorer. We’ve put him on a contract for either of two reasons. If we go down he stays if we stay up we can sell him for a relatively low price and create a space in the squad. Won’t be missed if we stay up and makes sense to me to cash in while we can.
Emil Krafth. I actually have a bit of time for Krafth in that he always gives 100%, never shirks his duty and always is willing to fight for the cause. But the bottom line is that he’s been caught out time and time again and is just not good enough.
Karl Darlow. Let’s be fair and ruthless about this one. He was an absolute star for us when Dubravka was injured and the talk of an England shot wasn’t that far short. But I always felt he wasn’t quite good enough and that Dubravka was better and safer. He won’t settle for second choice next season and could block Woodman’s progress in time, so let’s cash in while the iron’s hot.
Andy Carroll. For me one of the most baffling decisions of last season was to give him another year. This time he can’t be as lucky and sadly because he cares and is a Geordie I would just release him and let him find a Club. There’ll be takers but not at Premier level. He couldn’t even get in when Wilson was out injured.
Yoshinori Muto. He’s had a poor loan spell in Spain with Eibar and hasn’t been given a regular run of starts by any manager that’s had him over the past few years. We’d struggle to get much money, but selling him on the cheap and taking a loss is worth doing ASAP when he’s on a reported £50,000 per week!
Christian Atsu. Rotting in reserves and needs to go. Not even sure why he got back in the 25 as all he does is take away a development opportunity for a younger player in our U23’s. We’ve probably had our money’s worth out of him but with Murphy now settling, Atsu is no longer needed. He’s not Saivet as he’s actually offered us something, but it’s time for both to go.
I’m moving into more controversial territory now as I offer up Matt Ritchie – a player I would be no means sell ‘in a heartbeat’ but someone who may be looking to move on himself.
He’s been very good in the last couple of games and has shown experience, maturity and leadership. For those qualities alone he might be saved BUT his age goes against him and in truth until the last couple of years he’s struggled to get a game and seems to want a move down South.
I think Ritchie has been a fantastic servant for this Club and deserves our thanks and praise but, we just need someone a bit fresher for me I think we should consider letting him go with a great deal of sympathy about how much we ask for him as a reward for his considerable efforts.
Joelinton. Yes, I think it would be best for Big Joe if he moved on. The £40m tag has weighed him down and despite me thinking there’s a player in there I just can’t see him doing it regularly in the Premiership. I think for £15m a European team would take a punt and we should let them.
Oh, and don’t get me started on Henri Saivet. Is he still here? Will he be gone? Does anyone care? Yes we do as he’s cost us a fortune. Please, please just bin him and cut the losses.