Newcastle has found themselves in turmoil to begin the season. Will their 10th place finish from last season prove they’re built to last in the Premier League for another season?
- Yoshinori Muto — 26 — Center Forward — Mainz — $12.5M
- Frederico Fernandez — Center Back — Swansea — $7M
- Fabian Schar — 26 — Center Back — Dep. La Coruna — $4.7M
- Martin Dubravka — 29 — Goalkeeper — Sparta Praha — $4.7M
- Salomon Rondon — 28 — Center Forward — West Brom — Loan ($2.3M)
- Seung-yong Ki — 29 — Defensive-Mid — Swansea — Free
- Aleksandar Mitrovic — 23 — Center Forward — Fulham — $23.6M
- Mikel Merino — 22 — Defensive Midfielder — Real Sociedad — $14.3M
- Chancel Mbemba — 23 — Center Back — FC Porto — $9.4M
- Matz Sels — 26 — Goalkeeper — Strasbourg — $4.7M
- Dwight Gayle — 27 — Center Forward — West Brom — Loan
- Curtis Good — 25 — Center Back — No Club
- A few more — Newcastle departed with 13 players total.
Here’s a foolproof guide for how Newcastle makes the Euros next season:
- Owner Mike Ashley breaks the bank in January
- Manager Rafa Benitez lasts long enough for Mike Ashley to break the bank
- The entire current midfield gets hurt or sold making way for the new signings. That means you, Matt Richie and Jonjo Shelvey.
- DeAndre Yedlin turns into American Marcelo
- Joselu turns into Ronaldo
And there you have it, folks. Told you it would be foolproof.
When Will Your Manager Be Fired
Rafa Benitez is a legendary manager who has made stops in Valencia, Liverpool, Internazionale, Chelsea, Napoli and Real Madrid. His track record is among the most impressive in the Premier League. Unfortunately, his current squad would get run out of James’ Park against past Benitez sides.
There’s also that feud with the owner Mike Ashley. Benitez said before the season he’s “worried” and is disappointed to not spend the £45M he was banking on this summer. Instead, Newcastle made around $20M from selling players and signing cheaper talent.
Mike Ashley is hated by the players, too. The team went on strike this preseason because of they were unhappy with their winning bonuses — a common practice in the Premier League. Did Benitez influence any of that behavior? Should we start connecting some dots? Maybe in another blog.
Anyway, the Newcastle third-year manager did get the Magpies back to the Premier League two seasons ago and finished 10th last year. So it’s hard to blame the “Magfather” for getting frustrated by the chairman’s lack of investment in talent to keep improving the squad for a third straight year. Benitez has made Newcastle relevant again out of thin air. Where’s the financial backing?
Here’s what the tea leaves are telling us: this isn’t going to end well for Benitez. Newcastle do not have the horses to keep up with the improving clubs in the bottom half of the table and are battling with an uncommitted owner. Benitez will probably be gone after a public blow up about the board after the January window closes, if not sooner.
Which Player Will A Bigger Club Poach?
I really like Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles’ game. He’s a smooth defender who seems to put out fires with high frequency. I named him the Magpies savior last season. He averaged nearly four aerials Ws and seven clearances per game. Two important stats for a team who found themselves on the back foot more often than not.
Unknown to Household
Tough to say, but I’m going with Fabian Schär. I don’t want to say it’s because of the designer jeans he’s wear in his mugshot on their website, but it’s totally because he’s wearing denim on the team’s official webpage. Fabian? Designer jeans? Killer jawline? For the love of god, someone put this man on the cover of British GQ.
Or at least the Swiss version.
Back to soccer. Schär played 27 matches for Deportivo de La Coruña last season. It didn’t go very well. But he was still called to Russia this summer for the Switzerland national team. He played in three matches as the Swiss advanced to the Round of 16.
He was on the bench for Newcastle’s opener against Tottenham when the Magpies lost 2-1. I think Benitez will recognize Schär as the better player soon enough and he’ll be standing next to Lascelles as the season ramps up.
5/1 – Eighth-best odds, tied with Crystal Palace, just ahead of Bournemouth.