Newcastle have 'shot ahead of schedule' with top-four finish – Eddie Howe
It’s official. Newcastle United are back in the Champions League after a two-decade-long hiatus. And with the overwhelming financial support of Saudi Arabia, it feels like the sky is the limit for Eddie Howe’s project ahead of the summer transfer window.
Howe has already started upgrading his squad with Champions League-quality players like Bruno Guimaraes and Alexander Isak.
But there are still plenty of names among his ranks that make it seem like he has massively overachieved by guiding the Magpies into Europe’s premier competition in his first full season.
Express Sport identifies four important Newcastle stars that could be headed for lesser roles after the club’s latest recruitment drive.
Fabian Schar has enjoyed arguably his best season as a Newcastle player since joining in 2018, forming a formidable partnership with Sven Botman.
But the Switzerland international is 32 this year, and what better time for Howe to recruit an elite-level successor?
Schar should, without a doubt, remain at St James’ Park to help with Newcastle’s impending increased workload.
Howe needs stronger central-defensive depth, though, and signing Botman’s long-term partner sooner rather than later would be wise.
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Newcastle have been strongly linked with a summer move for Arsenal left-back Kieran Tierney.
It indicates that, despite Dan Burn’s heroics since reverting from a centre-back, Howe believes it’s time to level up.
Burn would be able to offer a solid back-up option in the middle and on the left for when the Magpies shuffle the pack.
But he may have to settle to watch the club’s biggest games from the bench next season.
Sean Longstaff has been a midfield regular for Howe this season as one of his most improved players.
But if Newcastle are to compete with the best midfielders in Europe next season onwards, Newcastle are reportedly eyeing upgrades.
Manchester United’s Scott McTominay and Leicester City’s James Maddison are two heavily linked with switches to Tyneside.
And with Guimaraes and Joelinton as the other two in Howe’s preferred midfield three, either arriving would likely put Longstaff’s place in jeopardy.
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Miguel Almiron has been unplayable at times this season, but his performance levels have significantly dipped in the business end.
The tricky Paraguayan has contributed just a goal and an assist in his last 12 outings, which simply won’t cut it at the highest level.
Howe has already bolstered his attacking ranks with big-money moves for Anthony Gordon and Alexander Isak.
But he could also be tempted to upgrade at right-wing too, as Bayer Leverkusen’s Moussa Diaby continues to be linked.
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