A Dream Newcastle XI Featuring Their Potential Summer Arrivals
Newcastle United look all set for a return to the Premier League after spending one season in the second tier of the English football. The Magpies sit on top of the standings in the EFL Championship this season with 78 points from 38 games and barring a serious blip in form, promotion to top-flight looks like a certainty.
Rafael Benitez has done a great job with the squad at his disposal. However, for Newcastle to put in a strong showing in the Premier League next season, investment on players during the summer will be of paramount importance.
There have been many players linked with a move to the Tyneside ahead of the summer transfer window. From a return for former Toon Hatem Ben Arfa, to a sensational swoop for England international and Manchester United full-back Luke Shaw, there have been all sorts of rumours doing the rounds.
There is also a rumoured approach to sign Fulham’s Tom Cairney and also a reunion of Benitez and his former ward Dries Mertens is also being talked about. With all that in mind, here we take a look at the possible playing XI that Newcastle could potentially field if they sign all their targets:
With Tim Krul set to return to the at the end of the season from a loan spell at Dutch side AZ Alkmaar, there will be competition between the Dutchman and Karl Darlow for the No.1 spot in the goal, but we could see Benitez stick with Darlow as a reward for his performances in the Championship.
At the back, DeAndre Yedlin should hold on to his spot on the right-hand side of the defence. He remains the best option for Newcastle and if no signings are made, he will continue. In the heart of the defence, the excellent partnership of captain Jamaal Lascelles and the experienced Ciaran Clark should continue. The duo has been performing brilliantly for the Magpies this season and Benitez will trust them to deliver next season as well. And at left-back, despite the rumours of Luke Shaw arriving, it is impossible to see anyone replace Paul Dummett. The 26-year old has been one of the most consistent performers for Newcastle this season and should keep his place in the line-up.
In the two-man midfield axis for Newcastle, we expect Jonjo Shelvey to continue alongside Isaac Hayden. Shelvey is a key component in the team and is vital for the way Newcastle play as he brings creativity and pulls the strings from the deeper areas of the pitch. And next to him, Hayden will be tasked with shielding his defence.
On the right-flank, we expect the excellent Matt Ritchie to continue. The former Bournemouth man has been a star performer for Newcastle this term and Benitez will be hoping for more of the same next season too.
And through the middle, we expect Fulham man Tom Cairney to come into the playing XI ahead of the likes of Ayoze Perez and Mo Diame. Cairney has been brilliant for the Cottagers this season and was approached by Benitez in the January window, but a move never materialized. But with interests reignited, he could end up at the St. James’ Park and make the No.10 role his own.
Out on the left-hand side will be Dries Mertens. His signing will be a coup for Newcastle if they pull it off and he will walk straight into the playing XI on the left-wing.
And up front, spearheading the attack will be Dwight Gayle. The former Crystal Palace man has found a new lease of life after joining the Magpies and has scored plenty of goals this season. He is their leading goal-scorer and Benitez will rely on him to provide them with goals in the Premier League as well.