Premier League season preview: Newcastle - predicted finish 8th

Emmanuel Riviere will need to score the goals. Photo: PA

Ins: Rémy Cabella (Montpellier, £12m), Emmanuel Riviere (Monaco, £6.3m), Siem de Jong (Ajax, £6m), Daryl Janmaat (Feyenoord, £5m), Ayoze Perez (Tenerife, £1.5m), Jack Colback (Sunderland), Facundo Ferreyra (Shakhtar Donetsk) Loan, Karl Darlow and Jamaal Lascelles (Nottingham Forest, Undisclosed)

Outs: Mathieu Debuchy (Arsenal, £12m), James Tavernier (Wigan Athletic, Undisclosed), Dan Gosling (AFC Bournemouth), Jonathan Mitchell (Derby County), Conor Newton (Rotherham United), Romain Amalfitano (Dijon), Sylvain Marveaux (Guingcamp, Loan) Shola Ameobi, Steven Logan, Brandon Miele, Jonathan Mitchell, Michael Richardson (All released)

Predicted finish

8th: The top half is the bare minimum for Newcastle. They’ve spent big and brought in a number of pedigreed options. With the club happy to simply sit in the top half, that is not the aspirations of the fanbase.

Newcastle could have finished much higher in the league last season had it not been for their capitulation post January. That left many frustrated and with cups reportedly not on the agenda for the current ownership, a strong league campaign is essential.

In many ways this summer is reminiscent of 2011 in which a clutch of new players including Yohan Cabaye and Demba Ba arrived and helped forget the backbone of the side.

The club finished 5th that season, and while many Geordies would love a repeat, I see a comfortable finish in 8th being more likely, as the new players look to bed in and adjust to a new style of play.

Daryl Janmaat
Daryl Janmaat is in to replace Mathieu Debuchy. Credit: PA

Signings

It’s been hard to complain if you’re a Newcastle fan this summer. At the time of writing the club have signed nine players, including an almost brand new front line. Also keen to plan for the future with the captures of Ayoze Perez and Forest pair Karl Darlow and Jamal Lascelles, many of the squad’s issues have been addressed, including adding depth in the shape of Jack Colback and Daryl Janmaat.

Showing a degree of ambition in procuring Remy Cabella and Siem de Jong, Alan Pardew’s claims of a run at the Champions League places seem a touch more founded now. However they’re still missing someone with the pedigree of Loic Remy.

Emmanuel Riviere has arrived from Monaco and begun well in pre-season. Strong and fast, he offers some of the same assets Remy provided, but lacks the goalscoring pedigree. There are similar concerns over Facundo Ferreyra, who despite having potential, is arriving off the back of a difficult few months at Shakhtar Donetsk.

Linked with Lyon pair Clement Grenier and Anthony Lacazette, however with both men seeking European football it was unlikely they could be persuaded by a raise in salary. With Remy still considered a target, a real high class forward would round off the signings nicely for the Magpies.

Remy Cabella
Remy Cabella has terrible hair. Credit: PA

One to watch

Remy Cabella - With a flashy haircut, tattoos on his hands, and a constant grin, Cabella took little time to net his first goal for Newcastle against Schalke 04. A summer signing from Montpellier, the best word to describe him would be ‘showman’.

Newcastle have needed that ever since Yohan Cabaye departed for Paris Saint Germain in January. His absence from the team was evident, with Newcastle lacking a creator and someone to be the conduit for their attacks.

Blessed with a bag full of tricks, the only concern with Cabella is his slight frame and potential struggles with the physical nature of the Premier League. If he can adjust to that, then Newcastle have once again exported a diamond from Ligue 1.

Alan Pardew
Alan Pardew might need to calm his temper and language. Credit: PA

Manager

Last season presented a myriad of issues for Alan Pardew. The club finished 10th, but endured a disastrous end to the season. They won away at Old Trafford, but were humbled by Sunderland at home.

Noted for his endless list of excuses during the last campaign - which included blaming the local press - Pardew does not enjoy a smooth relationship with the fans. Somewhat slow in his ability to react tactically, he has also been accused of playing a too direct style of play or ‘long ball’ football.

With the players signed this summer that is simply not an option, meaning he must evolve his style. Given he was also involved in some rather unsavoury exchanges last season with Manuel Pellegrini and David Meyler, Pardew must act with more diplomacy and grace on the touchline if he is to convince Newcastle fans he is their long term solution.

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@itvfootball Definitley. There is no reason why they can't we have good depth in the squad now and lots of talent and lots of playmakers.