Newcastle United’s season is far from over. Last weekend’s 4-0 thrashing at Stoke has left Toon fans worrying about a second relegation in three seasons, but they are just as close to a Europa League spot or the drop zone. Just four points separate them from both, and with eight games left there’s still plenty to play for.
With the Premier League tighter than ever it’s almost impossible to predict where Newcastle will end up. Their run-in may be gentle, but who knows what to expect from a team who’ve beaten Arsenal and Liverpool this season but lost to Blackpool and West Brom?
But results and league positions aren’t Newcastle’s only uncertainties. With several players entering their contract’s final year and £35 million burning a hole in Mike Ashley’s pocket, large-scale changes in playing staff are likely this summer. Newcastle’s recent transfer policy has been austere to say the least, but Andy Carroll’s sale may make this Newcastle’s highest-spending transfer window of the Ashley era.
There are holes in the squad and a lack of depth-strength that must be addressed if the club is to progress next season, but the squad is not short of deadwood. Several overpaid players will need to be shed from the Newcastle squad if big changes are afoot. The Toon’s wage bill is still one of the biggest in the league, and manager Alan Pardew must shift some deadwood if he is to make significant additions.
Assuming Newcastle avoids relegation this season, here are 10 transactions to strengthen the Magpies for 2011/12.