Newcastle have makings of a dynasty though still need work to challenge again
Although it has been somewhat of an underwhelming start to the Premier League season for Newcastle United, 5/2 with Coral to achieve a top 10 Premier League finish this term, there is plenty of promise.
Starting with a 2-2 draw at home against Southampton, this was a somewhat respectable result, though a tough away trip to Swansea clipped the Magpies wings after a 2-0 defeat.
The squad needed considerable strengthening following the end of last term and chairman Mike Ashley, true to his word, has made a significant amount of investment available, though new boss Steve McClaren didn’t need any encouragement to make signings.
Undoubtedly the pick of the bunch was 24-year-old Dutch international midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, who dispatched on his debut and demonstrated just how good he can be. Serbia striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, 20, has potential in abundance, though will take time to acclimatise to the Premier League, while DR Congo centre back Chancel Mbemba, who followed him from Anderlecht, has already shown he can be pivotal in the team’s rearguard.
A midfield double pivot of Jack Colback and Vernon Anita do not pull up any trees, though are diligent and industrious in their endeavours. The attacking triumvirate ahead of them currently appears to lack genuine, quality width; a trait great Newcastle teams of the past have possession in abundance, with Laurent Robert and Nolberto Solano two notable occupants of wide areas.
Moussa Sissoko is more at home in a central role and whether McClaren drops him back in due course is an option available to him, with a wide arrival said to be imminent. Marseille’s marauding magician Florian Thauvin has also secured a £12m St James’ Park switch, which should seem him installed on the right-hand side.
In attack it appears that, despite Mitrovic’s arrival, Papiss Cisse is still the main pick; however, more is needed – the Alan Shearer-type player who can come in, hit the ground running and provide a natural target in the penalty area. QPR’s Charlie Austin continues to be linked with a Magpies move and could well be the answer, if both clubs can agree a sensible fee.
One big question concerns the centre of defence. While Fabricio Coloccini has plenty of top-flight experience, whether he can keep performing every week at 100 per cent is something that McClaren needs to address and an upgrade in quality may quickly become a priority.
There is plenty of promise for the club going forward, though fans need to be patient and realise that a quick fix won’t happen overnight.