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2 Key Areas Newcastle Should Strengthen To Sustain In The Premier League Next Season

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Newcastle

Rafael Benitez

Two Key Positions That Newcastle Must Strengthen In The Summer

With a return to the big league now confirmed, the powers that be at Newcastle United can now start thinking about how they can cope with life back at the top level.

There is little doubt that they need reinforcements in most areas, but there a couple of them in particular that Rafa Benitez will be keen to improve, to ensure his squad competes in the Premier League.

Central Midfield

Newcastle United

Without knowing about the formation that Benitez will want to play next term, it’s hard to say precisely what sort of players he will target. Attack-minded midfielders like Tom Cairney have already been coveted and it’s likely the club will try again to sign the Fulham man.

Newcastle have had an over-reliance on Jonjo Shelvey to get themselves moving from back to the top this season and that cannot continue, especially at a higher level. Right now, Shelvey is the only first team central midfielder who is forward thinking; a situation that in the Premier League would surely lead to relegation all over again.

In terms of holding midfield players, Newcastle have been similarly weak over the past year. Jack Colback’s form has not been terrific and Cheik Tiote was very rarely involved, leaving young former Arsenal man Isaac Hayden as the only true ball-winning midfielder in the squad.

Like fellow crucial players Shelvey and Ciaran Clark, Isaac Hayden spent some time on the sidelines this season and it really showed. A quality passer/goal scoring midfielder and a top level defensive midfield player will be high on the agenda for sure.

Left Wing

Rafa is not a stupid man by any stretch of the imagination. He will know that, despite a resurgence in the form of Yoan Gouffran, his left flank needs major surgery in the summer.

It’s been a case of quantity, and not quality in that position this season. Gouffran has managed 5 league goals this term; some of them being crucial, and the fans are sufficiently grateful. His overall form has once again taken a dip though, and it seems there is no chance of him being trusted in a tough 38-game Premier League season to fill this position after August.

Christian Atsu has occasionally played on the left and has again done very well in short bursts. Giving Benitez a left-footed option out there, Atsu has been lively but the jury is out on whether or not he would prefer to play on the right. His loan also ends very soon and he may not be with Newcastle next season.

Rolando Aarons is still at the club but has missed the entire campaign through injury again. Benitez will want to give the talented winger a chance but he will certainly not be the only one in the frame for a starting berth on the left. Dries Mertens, Gylfi Sigurdsson, and Andros Townsend have all been mentioned as possible signings.