Could this be Newcastle United’s last season looking over their shoulders? Fighting a relegation battle, looking at other teams to “do us a favour”. This summer transfer window is going to be a busy one with incomings and outgoings.

The Goalkeeper position is one up for discussion. Martin Dubravka has played really well for us. He’s a great shot stopper and can command his area. The question I raise is “does his distribution need addressing”? In recent games this is one area that has let him down. And it is evident that not only Newcastle but all teams need a ball playing goal keeper. Dean Henderson would be an ideal replacement. His contribution, ball control and vocal presence make him my number one target.

Moving to the defence we really need to bring in a central defender. Dan Burn arriving to his boyhood club was an excellent signing in January. Playing alongside Fabien Schar, he has come in and bolstered up the defence. Jamaal Lascelles, our current Captain, will have to except that he is no longer a first choice. He lacks in composure and ball control, referring him to an “old fashioned” defender.  Only time will tell if he will be content with a position on the bench.

Sven Botman, a Dutch international player currently at Lille, has been a player of recent interest. At 21 years old he has his best years ahead of him. Another player that I admire and would bring premier league experience is Connor Coady. He is captain at Wolves, which could bring in leadership. Experience at international level bringing influence on and off the pitch.

Kieran Trippier is an outstanding signing. Not only is he a leader he can score. His excellent free-kicks have won us recent matches scoring 2 from 4 games. Hopefully we will see him again before the end of the season. Matt Target is another great loan signing. I had my doubts at first but have proven just what we have been lacking. I fully expect the board to make the loan signing a permanent one.

We can assume Ciaran Clark and Jamal Lewis have played their last games for Newcastle. Although the latter I would like us to keep. I feel Lewis could go out on loan and gain much valued experience. As for Krafth, Fernandez, Dummett and Manquillio, these also remain question marks. A fully fit squad, these do not start. Are they good back-ups?

Jonjo Shelvey’s passing game and control on the ball is key and with the protection of a rejuvenated Joelinton and Joe Willock making runs, brings us energy to midfield. Bruno Guimarães is a classy player. This season he will be finding his feet but having Joelinton as a fellow Brazilian will help him to settle. With Sean Longstaff and possibly his brother Matty, along with Isaac Hayden our central midfield is really healthy. If we do look to improve a player I like is Harry Winks from Spurs. He is a versatile defending midfielder with the ability to see the pass. He would be a brilliant acquisition.

Matt Ritchie’s contract ends summer 2023. I think he will stay until it runs out or go out on loan. Coming up to 33 years old he will eventually want to move back to the south coast.

Our attacking options need to be enhanced. ASM has been subject to recent criticism. It’s almost like he’s trying too hard and wants to score worldies. There is no doubt he has talent in abundance but needs to put his head up and include his team mates. Certainly a luxury player to have and a massive crowd pleaser. Ryan Fraser has come on amazingly since Howe has arrived. Each match he shows his tenacity and never gives up. Miggy Almiron, a player that will run for 90 minutes. One you could never criticise for not “putting it in”. But I feel his lack of goals may be the reason he goes on the transfer list. And then we come to Jacob Murphy, he has improved, not a definite starter but is a much relied rotation player.

Callum Wilson has come in and proved he can score a goal. The only issue is his injuries may cause concern. Chris Wood is not the long-term answer as a centre forward for Newcastle. He has come in and done a good job but is not the answer. A good option though to bring on off the bench and go “route one”. Dwight Gayle I would put on the transfer list or loan.

Two players I would seriously look at bringing in are Ivan Toney and Marcus Rashford. Toney has become a proven goal scorer since leaving us. Doing amazingly at Brentford. Holds the ball up well, making good runs and a great header of the ball. In Rashford we all know his talent. He needs a change of scenery and get his mind back on the game. These two would be a marvellous signings.

Squad rotation is ultimate aim for Newcastle, having the ability to bring players off the bench that are just as good as the players that are getting substituted. With the FA now announcing that each team will be allowed 5 subs per match we must be tactical, plan and be almost cunning.

TRUDIE PREST