Newcastle v Chelsea Match in Pictures
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Eddie Howe faces a tough task turning around Newcastle’s form. The new Magpies boss was the man chosen to lead the club into its Saudi-backed new era but takes over a club 19th in the Premier League and without a win all season.
The former Bournemouth boss watched on as his new side limped to a 1-1 draw with Brighton on Saturday.
Howe has been appointed following a lengthy search for Steve Bruce’s successor. Director Amanda Staveley took nearly three weeks to find the new boss.
But he will likely be backed by a huge transfer budget during the January transfer window. Some smart business should help to drag the Tyneside club back up the table.
Express Sport looks at how a Newcastle team with four January transfers might line up.
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Goalkeeper: Martin Dubravka
Newcastle have used two of their first-team goalkeepers this season and might use a third when Howe gets to work.
Freddie Woodman started the campaign while Dubravka and Karl Darlow returned from injuries.
The latter then won the contest be No 1, leaving Woodman and Dubravka waiting for an opportunity. Howe could choose to use Dubravka, who only a couple of years ago was considered one of the best shot-stoppers in the top-flight.
Newcastle have conceded a whopping 24 goals in their 11 league matches. A change in goal could be required.
Defenders: Javier Manquillo, James Tarkowski, Jamaal Lascelles, Jamal Lewis
The leaky defence could benefit from a refresh. Bruce and caretaker boss Graeme Jones have both used a back five this season but Howe has generally favoured a four-man defence.
That could allow Manquillo to return at right-back, having lost his place to the more attack-minded wing-back Jacob Murphy.
Club captain Lascelles could have a new partner after the January transfer window, with Newcastle desperate for defensive reinforcements.
Burnley’s Tarkowski has been heavily linked. The 28-year-old’s contract expires at the end of the season, leaving the Clarets with no choice but to accept a bid in the new year if they do not want to lose him for free next summer.
Left-back Lewis could be reinstated after losing his spot to Matt Ritchie, although the latter did perform well for Howe at former club Bournemouth.
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Midfielders: Ryan Fraser, Aaron Ramsey, Jefferson Lerma, Miguel Almiron, Jesse Lingard
Winger Fraser is another member of the Newcastle squad who have already worked under Howe. He made 208 appearances for the Cherries and became a key player during their later Premier League years.
He could be given the nod on the right, although he might have some new company in midfield. Former Arsenal midfielder Ramsey has been suggested as a possible signing ever since Newcastle’s new Saudi owners completed their takeover a month ago. Italian newspaper CalcioMercato have reported that Juventus are preparing to tear up the Wales international’s contract.
Now 32 and not quite the same lung-busting box-box-box player who scored frequently for Arsenal, Ramsey could play alongside Bournemouth’s Lerma if Howe makes a January raid of his former club.
Given his affection for the South Coast club, the 43-year-old is unlikely to want to unsettle their promotion push too much, but could still attempt to sign Lerma if he feels a defensive midfielder is required.
Newcastle could also attempt to sign Lingard from Manchester United. The attacking midfielder has found regular football hard to find at Old Trafford and will surely be keen to find a similar move that saw him thrive at West Ham in the second half of last season.
The most advanced midfielder might be Paraguayan Almiron, who often seemed to struggle in Bruce’s more conservative structure.
Attacker: Callum Wilson
Former Bournemouth striker Wilson thrived under Howe on the South Coast and will likely be offered a chance to prove his worth before a big-money striker is signed.
He scored 67 goals in 187 appearances for the Cherries. His 31 assists during that time meant that he contributed to a goal just under ever two matches.
Wilson has managed similar form at Newcastle, scoring 16 times in 35 games.
Howe might look to maintain that form rather than try to sign a goal-scorer during a transfer window where value is hard to find.
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