Newcastle United attacking signings have dominated the discussion for some time.
The lack of them.
At the end of last season it was obvious to everybody both inside and outside the football club, that extra (better) attacking options needed to be pursued.
Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin having been the main sources of goals and assists these past couple of seasons but even they aren’t nailed on. ASM fluctuating in form, whilst Wilson has only managed to start an average of every other Premier League match in his time at NUFC so far.
When the two of them are on form, Newcastle United carry a real threat up front. However, after that, we don’t really have a lot else, not in terms of a track record of creating chances and scoring goals on a regular basis.
Bruno Guimaraes managed only three goals in 71 appearances for Lyon but in 11 Premier League starts for Newcastle last season, surprisingly produced five goals and one assist. That does give hope of another attacking strand to the current NUFC options and I do have belief that he can be at least a half decent scorer / creator at the sharp end, as well as his undoubted other contributions in the midfield.
Other than that, you are looking at Joe Willock, he scored eight goals in 14 appearances on loan (having only previously scored one career Premier League goal with Arsenal), yet has now scored only two in 31 PL appearances since NUFC bought him.
Miguel Almiron weighs in with a wonder goal last season but it was his only one, Ryan Fraser had a burst of a handful of goals / assists but lacks consistency and the ability to stay fit so far in NUFC colours.
So all in all, if no Newcastle United attacking signings are made in the remainder of this transfer window, it will be needing a real group effort to score and create goals, as was the case in the formidable form of the second half of last season.
Yes, I would, like the rest of you, very much welcome better quality attacking players, which football fan wouldn’t. However, I simply can’t go along with this narrative of this all becoming a disaster if goalscorers / creators aren’t signing in these next couple of weeks.
This team and squad are immeasurably better than what we had before 2022 arrived, so whilst of course we want these signings to happen (whoever the potential attacking targets happen to be), no need for panic on the streets of Newcastle if deals don’t happen.
Newcastle United now have a very good team, not world beaters, but a very good and much improved team from what we had before Eddie Howe arrived.
He has made the entire back line much better, as individuals and as a unit. Both with signings and rehabilitating the likes of Fabian Schar off the Steve Bruce scrapheap.
Likewise, Joelinton is quite literally ‘like a new signing’, star quality in midfield alongside his excellent mate Bruno G.
There are only a handful of strikers in the Premier League who are better than Callum Wilson and he missed almost the entire much better second half of last season. As did Kieran Trippier.
I think some Newcastle fans (and those of other teams) put far too much emphasis on one-off games. Yes, Callum Wilson and indeed NUFC as a whole, didn’t threaten much at all in the second half at Brighton, as the home side dominated. However, at times you do have to credit, Brighton have managed to also do this to better teams than Newcastle at times and Dunk is a much underrated central defender. The Seagulls simply played very good possession football after the break and when Newcastle did have the ball in the second half, the Brighton players were very good in pressuring and repeatedly winning the ball back.
Not something to go overboard about, Newcastle United did this regularly in parts of many matches earlier this year and indeed absolutely dominated Forest on the opening day. Forest then go out and prove more than a match for West Ham. These things happen.
If a couple of perfect Newcastle United attacking signings were made in these next two weeks, then fair to say that it could very well take the NUFC starting eleven to a whole new level. However, if not, I think Newcastle can still be very competitive in almost every match and potentially take points. Not maybe with an enhanced attacking style that key attacking signings could potentially bring about on a more regular basis…but having Newcastle competitive was what it was all about when we dreamt beyond the Mike Ashley days. Wasn’t it?
It is not a case of saying Newcastle fans should simply be grateful for what they have got now.
More a case of accepting that real life isn’t the same as playing Football Manager or playing some kind of football Monopoly, where if you make a complete mess of everything and lose at all, you can then simply start another game.
The club, for example, had Hugo Ekitike lined up. The transfer agreed with FC Reims but then the player himself chose PSG. The intent is there, however, the NUFC hierarchy are intent on doing things in a long-term strategy. You can’t just agree to pay whatever the other club(s) wants on signing after signing, only living for the moment. Masses of work is obviously going on behind the scenes to land the right players at the right price, within reason. You see Chelsea reported to have had a £45m bid for Anthony Gordon, not saying he is a bad player BUT £45m (turned down!) for someone who has four goals and three assists in 52 Premier League appearances, shows just how tough this transfer window is.
I think Newcastle United attacking signings will happen before the window ends but that is only part of the story.
Maybe the reality will be that the real big attacking signings we would love to see, will instead happen in January 2023 and / or next summer (2023). I would far rather that Eddie Howe and Dan Ashworth waited for the right moment to land targets off their top list, rather than spending cash on just anybody to give short term satisfaction to the vocal minority forecasting doom and gloom if NUFC don’t get (just?) anyone in during these next two weeks…
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