Despite a surprisingly good end to the campaign with a few big results pulled out of the bag, Newcastle United’s depressingly stagnant Premier League season with limited progress under Steve Bruce has come to an end despite a few more games being left to play. With safety secured, the season is over for the fans.
It has been a struggle, with an alarming amount of poor performances and limited attacking intent illustrated by a likeable but lacklustre manager in Bruce. The positive talking points have been few and far between, and we are instead seeing the likes of Joelinton’s shocking performances hog the headlines and numerous statistical analysis highlighting how the Toon Army are the most ineffective attacking force in England’s top flight. All positive stuff, if you’re a Sunderland fan.
The Newcastle United team of today doesn’t represent the club in any shape or form, apart from the likes of Paul Dummett and the Longstaff brothers. One look at MBet’s Newcastle Utd blog will tell you that, with Bobbie Jackson picking his best-ever Newcastle XI in the Premier League era and it not featuring any names from recent years. Justifiably so, too, as the club continues to falter under Ashley’s ownership. Few of them deserve mention, and as the summer transfer window fast approaches, nearly every player on that squad list is replaceable, barring a few solid performers such as Darlow, Dubravka, Wilson and a few others.
With Premier League football secured for next season, the club will surely be looking at players to help elevate this distinctly average squad. Whether or not Ashley will stump up the required money is another question entirely, but we will surely see some form of investment. Here is a look at a few potential targets.
Kristoffer Ajer – Celtic
Kristoffer Ajer’s move to Newcastle is almost a done deal, according to a few reports, with the 23-year-old defender expected to be a primary target for the club. With his best years ahead of him and some great experience under his belt playing for both Celtic in Europe and representing Norway at international level, Ajer could be a solid acquisition.
Michael Olise – Reading
One of the most technically gifted talents in English football at the moment, Michael Olise has been impressing at Reading. Aged just 19, the former Chelsea and Manchester City youngster has been a standout performer in a Reading side that just missed out on the play-offs. An attacking midfielder capable of slicing open defences and providing Newcastle United with some much-needed creativity, Olise could be signed for relatively cheap and sold on for a massive fee in the future. That might appeal to Mike Ashley, of course.
Ivan Toney – Brentford
The likes of Leeds United and West Ham have been linked for Brentford’s goal machine Ivan Toney, but Newcastle United should be assessing his credentials also. A lethal marksman in both League One and the Championship in recent times, the former Newcastle United youngster would surely be keen to return to the club and finally make an impact at first-team level. He’s certainly capable, having scored over 30 goals for the Bees this season.
Ademola Lookman – RB Leipzig
After impressing at Fulham and reportedly being keen on a move back to England, Ademola Lookman could emerge as a surprise target for Newcastle. The former Charlton youngster could be signed on-loan for a nominal fee and carry on his upward trajectory in a Toon Army shirt.
Other potential targets could be Brentford’s Bryan Mbeumo, Arsenal’s Joe Willock, Manchester United’s Brandon Williams, and Arsenal’s Rob Holding.