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Clear out, reinforcement & more – four issues Eddie Howe must address at Newcastle

Four issues Eddie Howe must address at Newcastle

Newcastle United took the first step toward cementing their place in the upper echelons of the English football pyramid when they defied the odds and secured Champions League football last season.

Now the onus is on Eddie Howe and his relentless Magpies to prove they are not just one-season wonders and replicate their massively impressive form in the coming season.

However, as with any club, Howe is faced with a couple of challenges he must address to better his side’s chances of competing on all fronts next season. 

Let’s take you through four key issues the English manager must tackle ahead of the 2023/24 campaign.

Squad clear-out

Newcastle currently have five first-team goalkeepers on their roster, including first-choice Nick Pope, and at least two need to be shipped out to create space in the squad.

There are also eight full-backs in Howe’s squad, which could blow back in the manager’s face if it is not addressed this summer.

Howe also needs to decide what to do with Fabian Schar, Jamaal Lascelles, Jeff Hendrick and others, who have just 12 months left on their contract. 

This transfer window is the club’s only opportunity to ship such players out and recoup a fee from their departures.


Newcastle are operating under a strict transfer budget this summer due to Financial Fair Play limitations, and they need to generate additional funds through player sales to further their reinforcement plans.

The Magpies have more fringe players than they know what to do with, and a clear-out will help trim the squad size and raise funds that can be reinvested into adding quality to the team.

Defensive reinforcement

Defensive solidity was the bedrock upon which Newcastle enjoyed an astonishing campaign last season, conceding just 33 goals – the joint-best in the division.

However, significant reinforcement from the transfer window will be required to maintain those standards, especially with Champions League football now on the cards.

Dan Burn put in several impressive shifts at left-back last term, but Howe may have to recruit a more pacey and athletic full-back to support the Englishman.

The same can be said for Kieran Trippier on the other flank. The Magpies captain played a prominent role last season, but he needs a quality understudy that can maintain high-level competitiveness in his absence.

Schar formed a formidable partnership with Sven Botman at the heart of the Newcastle defence, but the Swiss defender has one year left on his contract, which needs to be sorted out quickly.

Attacking depth

Joelinton’s versatility spared Newcastle’s blushes several times last season, with the Brazilian able to feature in a handful of positions, including central midfield, on the left flank or as a centre-forward.

However, Howe needs to recruit more quality players to add depth in the attacking areas this summer. Another left winger will allow Joelinton to focus more on the midfield role he has become accustomed to.

Miguel Almiron and Jacob Murphy did a decent job for the Magpies last season, but both players only scored 15 goals combined.

Howe may need to recruit another winger to add more firepower and goals to the team.

Galvanising the squad

Newcastle’s rise to prominence caught the eye last season, and the Magpies should receive plaudits for taking the fight to the traditional top six and earning their spot.

However, it is hard to shake off the feeling that their meteoric rise was bolstered by Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Chelsea underperforming.

With the trio significantly strengthening their squads and preparing to reclaim their place back in the top four, Howe and his side will have to prove last season was not a fluke and they have what it takes to shrug off the big boys and retain their spot.

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