Eddie Howe might have completely different starting XI than Steve Bruce did last season for Newcastle United’s first match.
With a busy summer ahead, numerous elite-level players are likely to pass through the doors at St James’ Park, with the same number and then some heading the other way.
In January, the Saudi-led ownership spent almost £90 million on five players, indicating what they may do now that they have a full window to work with and their Premier League membership secured.
The Magpies have come a long way since the start of the 2021/2022 season, when they lost 4-2 at home to West Ham and went 15 games without a win, and there is no better illustration of that progress than the very real possibility that Newcastle will field an almost entirely different lineup for their season opener than they did against West Ham.
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Freddie Woodman, Ciaran Clark, Federico Fernandez, Matt Ritchie, and Isaac Hayden all appear to be on their way out of St James’ Park in the coming months.
Newcastle signed full-backs Kieran Trippier and Matt Targett in January – the latter has since returned to parent club Aston Villa – underscoring the importance of defensive reinforcements, while the club’s desperation to sign European-level centre-backs in January and already this month demonstrates an intent to overhaul the back-line.
The Magpies have been connected with a number of attackers, but Callum Wilson is set to remain first choice for the time being, while Bruno Guimaraes’ breakthrough has pushed Hayden into the background.
Jonjo Shelvey has maintained his defensive importance, although he is not a specialist holding midfielder and may be asked to fill in for an elite-level defensive midfielder like Kalvin Phillips.
Miguel Almiron and Jacob Murphy are both expected to be relegated to the Newcastle bench, according to the team’s switch to a 4-3-3 formation, which sees Joelinton moved to midfield and Allan Saint-Maximin pushed out wide.
With a slew of fresh, intriguing, and costly names surrounding him in August, the French talisman is expected to remain in the starting XI – a pleasant reward for all the weeks he has carried the team in the past.
The amount of progress this club has made since Eddie Howe came and the leadership began investing in the team has been phenomenal.
With a whole summer to scout, negotiate, and recruit top-tier players, the starting lineup for the 2022/2023 season may look somewhat like this.
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