Five positions Newcastle need to improve...oh and change the manager

Alan Pardew has taken his side backwards in recent months. Photo: PA

After both Shola Ameobi and manager Alan Pardew stated that the club needed to invest in the summer, we take a look at where Newcastle need to strengthen.

  1. Centre-back

The future of Fabricio Coloccini has been in the balance for a sustained period and his partner, Mike Williamson, despite being steady, won’t be pushing the team forward next season. Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa arrived from Montpellier with the reputation of being one of the best young defenders in Europe, but has struggled to nail down a spot in the heart of the Newcastle defence, being forced to play at full-back when he does get on the pitch. Their inability to deal with a straight free-kick into the box against Arsenal, shows the need to beef up the central pairing, who have to be more dominant on such occasions. Soon-to-be-relegated Steven Caulker could be the sort of man to improve that creaky back four. A bit of leadership wouldn’t go amiss, as this team has been coasting since hitting the 40 point mark.

Mike Williamson tries his best. Credit: PA
  1. Central midfield

Since the departure of Yohan Cabaye to Paris Saint-Germain’s bench, Newcastle have spiralled, struggling to create chances for their blunt strikers. If they are to return to challenging for continental places, they will need to procure someone capable of dictating the tempo in midfield and, at the same time, with the ability to provide assists. On Monday night, Dan Gosling – a man who spent the early part of the season on loan at Blackpool - was given a starting role in North London, showing a lack of options, accompanying jack of all trades, master of none Vurnon Anita. The morning’s papers linked Pardew with a move for Swansea’s halfway line man Jonjo Shelvey, who could inject some forward thrust into the Newcastle midfield. Controversially, Jack Colback could head to Newcastle from Sunderland on a free transfer in the summer, adding an extra dimension to the centre of the park.

Jonjo Shelvey has been linked with a move north. Credit: PA
  1. Striker

Loic Remy is the only man in the Newcastle squad capable of getting the ball on target ten times a season, let alone score. Through a mixture of injury and suspension the French striker on loan from QPR has been a key absentee, forcing Newcastle to rely on the likes of Shola Ameobi and the misfiring Papiss Cisse to lead the line when he has been missing, seeing the team amass just 39 goals in 35 games this season, with only ten of those coming in this calendar year. The potential answer could come in the form of ex-fans favourite Demba Ba, who has been a bit part player since moving to Chelsea and is expected to depart Stamford Bridge in the summer.

It looks unlikely that Loic Remy will stay. Credit: PA
  1. Depth

Simply put, the St James’ Park has witnessed some very inexperienced and some incredibly average ones grace it's padded bench, as Pardew has seen his squad wither through sales and injuries. At the Emirates 17-year-old Adam Armstrong was once again on the bench alongside Gabriel Obertan and Massadio Haidara, two men seen to be out of their depths at Premier League level. It could be time for Pardew to blood some of his youngsters from the bench and pick up the sort of experienced quality, with the potential of signing up some promising talents from around the UK and further afield to bolster a squad devoid of strength in depth.

Some fans may fear we are not going to move forward, but I think we will.

We have got ourselves in a good position in terms of transfer preparation. We must make sure we strengthen well in the summer.

I'm not going to put a figure on how many are coming in but we are going to be active.

– Newcastle manager Alan Pardew
Tim Krul could be leaving. Credit: PA
  1. Replacements

Like all mid-table sides, the vultures are waiting to pounce on their more credible stars; Mathieu Debuchy is a target for Bayern Munich, Tim Krul – the man that kept them in the game on Monday - has got a host of teams lining up to sign him and they don’t even own Loic Remy, who looks to set to move elsewhere when his loan deal finishes. The possibility of losing his big name players will make transfer planning even harder for Pardew, who will be worrying about how much he can prise out of the grasp of owner Mike Ashley, who did not re-invest the money profited from selling Cabaye.

We have limited resources at the moment and when we lose one or two key players it hurts the team badly.

That is what the manager has had to put up with, unfortunately.

But that is something the club have to put right for next season. We need quality players and we need a quality squad as well.

– Shola Ameobi speaking to BBC Newcastle
  1. Manager

Newcastle can’t continue like this. There’s no fight, no drive and no energy in the side that has now lost six on the trot. It’s a sad sight, especially for those who have travelled down to London on Monday night to watch this constant anaemia.