Seven months into his Newcastle United tenure, Eddie Howe now has a clear idea as to how he wants to evolve his squad.
Newcastle are continuing negotiations to acquire Hugo Ekitike, the Reims forward who Newcastle agreed a fee for in January, while the club remain hopeful they can hijack AC Milans move for Sven Botman, the Lille defender.
Ideally, between four and six additions will arrive this summer, with a left-back, striker and midfielder also on Howes wanted list. But Dan Ashworth, the newly appointed sporting director, must also move on around a third of the 31 senior players that Newcastle currently have on their books.
Here, The Athletic runs through every member of the Newcastle squad to outline which players fans can expect to stay and leave during what will be a very busy window
Martin Dubravka (contract expires 2025)
Newcastles undisputed No 1, the 33-year-old has been linked with a move away but is expected to stay. Ideally, Howe would like to bring in another goalkeeper to challenge Dubravka who started 26 successive league matches once he returned from injury in November but it is not an immediate priority. As impressive as Dubravkas shot-stopping has been, doubts remain over his distribution. A ball-playing alternative would provide much-needed competition in the medium term.
Karl Darlow (contract expires 2025)
The 31-year-old finds himself at a key juncture. Although an able deputy, he has never seriously threatened to usurp Dubravka. However Darlow has three years left to run on his Newcastle contract and, though he is attracting interest from Championship clubs, including Middlesbrough, securing a permanent transfer on his present wages may prove problematic. The expectation is that, if Newcastle received a decent offer for Darlow, they would consider selling, and, if the shot-stopper desires game-time, he will need to move on.
Mark Gillespie (contract expires 2023)
Part of the dressing rooms Geordie contingent, Gillespie has yet to make a Premier League appearance for Newcastle. Steve Bruce, Howes predecessor, signed Gillespie, who was released from his hometown clubs academy as a teenager, in 2020, but never appeared to trust the 30-year-old. Gillespie is well-liked internally and is seen as an ideal third goalkeeper, although some at the club have raised concerns about whether he could be relied upon for an extended run in the top flight.
Freddie Woodman (contract expires 2023)
Last month, Howe promised that he would sit down and discuss what the next step is for Woodman, but admitted it was difficult to say what comes next for the 25-year-old. Long viewed as a future Newcastle No 1, Woodman was thrust into the Premier League XI at the start of last season due to injury and endured a mixed spell. His loan to Bournemouth in January proved disappointing, as he failed to dislodge Mark Travers and did not make a single Championship appearance. Woodman is into the final year of his contract, which was extended in 2020, and sources suggest Newcastle may sell the goalkeeper if Howe decides he is not part of his first-team plans. Woodman impressed during two seasons on loan at Swansea City and a permanent move where he can play regularly may be necessary.
Dan Langley (contract expires 2023)
The 21-year-old progressed through Newcastles academy and has regularly trained with the first-team squad over the past two seasons. The 6ft 7in goalkeeper is comfortable on the ball and could take his place as a third-choice goalkeeper, should others depart.
Right-backs/right wing-backs 3
Emil Krafth (contract expires 2023)
The Sweden internationals improvement under Howe was pronounced and yet, even before Krafth received praise from supporters for his late-season performances, the head coach had indicated a preference to retain the 27-year-old. An unflashy but steady understudy to Kieran Trippier, Krafth can also cover at centre-half, particularly in a back three and, unless Newcastle receive a decent offer, he appears set to stay.
Kieran Trippier (contract expires 2024)
Newcastles statement January signing and the clubs standard-setter, the 31-year-old is viewed by many, inside and outside St James, as the captain-in-waiting. Injury has restricted Trippier to just five league starts so far, but he has become the first Newcastle player since 2016 to receive an England call-up and will be central to the clubs prospects next season. His experience and class are deemed vital in helping Newcastle kick on to the next level.
Javier Manquillo (contract expires 2024)
One of the players whose squad status became downgraded under Howe, with the 28-year-old serving up inconsistent performances throughout 2021-22. Manquillo may be preferred to Krafth as a wing-back, but in a back four the latter is more dependable. Newcastle are not actively looking to sell Manquillo, but they may consider bids, given Jacob Murphy can also play as a wing-back.
Left-backs/left wing-backs 4
Matt Targett (loan expires this month)
Although Targetts loan from Aston Villa officially ends on June 30, there is still a decent possibility that the 26-year-old could return to Tyneside permanently. Howe is exploring left-backs who offer more of an attacking threat, including Atletico Madrids Renan Lodi, but values Targetts contribution during the second half of 2021-22 and knows the Englishman is dependable. At the moment, though, a firm decision is yet to be taken, and Targett is receiving interest from elsewhere.
Jamal Lewis (contract expires 2025)
Left out of the 25-man Premier League squad in January, Lewis has undergone surgery on a long-standing groin problem and is set to be handed an opportunity to impress Howe in pre-season. The 24-year-old made just four league starts last season and, having arrived in 2020 for £15 million to much excitement, he has yet to develop as hoped. An athletic left-back with excellent endurance, Lewis has the characteristics to succeed but needs his confidence bolstered. Newcastle are yet to receive a significant offer for Lewis, and are unlikely to, so he may be restored to the squad for 2022-23.
Paul Dummett (contract expires 2023)
Of the three players whose contracts were due to expire this summer, Dummetts extension came as the biggest surprise to many supporters. Yet despite making just three appearances in an injury-affected campaign, he is a key voice in the dressing room, while his ability to play both left-back and centre-half makes him an important squad member. At 30, retaining an academy graduate who holds long ties with the club and who can be a versatile back-up option for another 12 months makes sense.
Matt Ritchie (contract expires 2023)
Another player whose flexibility is an asset, Ritchie has occasionally returned to attacking positions when introduced as a substitute recently, but has played the majority of his football in the past couple of seasons as a wing-back, or even as an emergency left-back. His crossing remains a key asset but, at 32, he has become increasingly peripheral on the pitch, even if he is a vocal presence off it. Newcastle are open to offers for Ritchie, who was close to returning to Bournemouth last season, and there is interest from Championship clubs.
Dan Burn (contract expires 2024)
A standout performer after his £13 million arrival from Brighton in January, the Blyth-born defender established a strong partnership with Fabian Schar. Newcastle are keen to bring in another centre-back, with Botman still a primary target, but Burn, 30, is determined to retain his starting place.
Ciaran Clark (contract expires 2023)
The 32-year-old should be commended for his service to Newcastle since 2016, but this summer is likely to see a parting of ways. Clark was left out of the Premier League squad post-January and is available for transfer. However, he rejected a loan to Middlesbrough in January and is believed to prefer a permanent exit to a temporary one, which may be tricky to secure on his current terms.
Fabian Schar (contract expires 2024)
Revitalised under Howe, Schar appeared destined to depart Newcastle this summer as a free agent until the head coach arrived. Instead, having excelled alongside Burn, the 30-year-old signed an extension until 2024 and will be a key member of the squad next season. Interestingly, Newcastle are looking at right-sided centre-backs, as well as left-sided defenders like Botman, meaning the Switzerland international could face increased competition.
Jamaal Lascelles (contract expires 2024)
The club captain was praised by Howe for his reaction to being omitted for Burn and he remains the leader in the dressing room. The 28-year-old is a dependable defender, though he is not as comfortable in possession as Schar or Burn, and Howe is looking to acquire a ball-playing centre-back. While Newcastle may be tempted to sell if they receive a good offer, with Lascelles former club Nottingham Forest linked, he is not being pushed towards the exit.
Federico Fernandez (contract expires 2023)
When the Argentinian was retained in the 25-man squad ahead of Clark in January, it surprised many, given fitness problems restricted Fernandez to just five league starts last season. Yet the 33-year-olds experience and personality were valued by Howe and he was a prominent figure behind the scenes. He is available this summer but, like Clark, finding a club to assume Fernandezs contract will not be straightforward.
Kell Watts (contract expires 2024)
Howe is set to take a closer look at Watts for the first time in pre-season, with the 22-year-old returning following a successful loan at Wigan Athletic. Having achieved promotion from League One, the versatile, ball-playing defender is likely to go back on loan, possibly returning to Wigan, in 2022-23.
Bruno Guimaraes (contract expires 2026)
The Brazilian has quickly established himself as the star of the squad and he will head to Qatar for the World Cup as a Newcastle player. The 24-year-old was gradually integrated into the XI by Howe but is now an automatic starter and the midfield will be built around him next season.
Isaac Hayden (contract expires 2026)
A well-liked and reliable midfielder, Hayden suffering a knee injury in December saw him omitted from the 25-man squad and his squad status has suffered as a result. The 27-year-old is likely to leave this summer and hinted as much with a Twitter post thanking fans for their support over the last six years but he still has four years remaining on the contract extension he was awarded in 2020. Newcastle must decide whether to loan or sell the midfielder, given he is one of their few saleable assets.
Joe Willock (contract expires 2027)
The only senior player Newcastle signed in 2021 (albeit twice), Willock had an up-and-down first full season on Tyneside. Two goals and no assists marked a disappointing return for the dynamic midfielder, but Howe likes his energy and ability to drive forward with possession. The 22-year-old is no longer an automatic starter, though, and another midfielder could arrive this summer, too.
Jonjo Shelvey (contract expires 2023)
When Howe was appointed, many Newcastle fans expected Shelvey to be discarded given his apparent lack of athleticism out of possession, but the head coach made the technical midfielder the pivot in his side. The 30-year-old is entering the final 12 months of his deal and, while reports claimed he would be offered an extension, that is yet to be agreed. He appears set to stay for 2022-23, though, when his longer-term future will be assessed.
Joelinton (contract expires 2025)
The player who best embodies Newcastles improvement under Howe, Joelinton being reborn as a destructive midfielder made him the story of the 2021-22 season. No outfield squad member has played a greater number of minutes (2,046) under Howe than the Brazilian. Going forward, Howe is receptive to deploying Joelinton either in midfield or as a wide forward the head coach cherishes his strength, power and tactical understanding and the 25-year-olds main position next season may be determined by Newcastles summer business.
Sean Longstaff (contract expires 2025)
The midfielders extension was only finalised once the campaign ended, with Longstaff agreeing to a new three-year deal, rather than leaving on a free, having received assurances he will be given opportunities to play. His impressive end to the campaign, when he started four of the final five matches, means he will return to what is an important pre-season for him with confidence. The academy graduate is unlikely to be first choice in 2022-23 but he has been given another opportunity to develop further under Howe. If in a years time he remains peripheral, then the 24-year-old may depart and Newcastle will be able to recoup a transfer fee having tied him down.
Jeff Hendrick (contract expires 2024)
Some Newcastle fans may have forgotten that the Republic of Ireland international is still on the clubs books, but he has another two years on the deal he signed in 2020. Hendrick made just seven starts on loan at Championship side Queens Park Rangers from January and is available this summer. However, his salary is significant, given he joined on a free transfer, and, although there is interest from second-tier sides, the 30-year-old may need to be loaned out again and a decent portion of his wages subsidised.
Matty Longstaff (contract expires 2023)
Six goals and two assists in 18 appearances at Mansfield Town marked a decent loan spell for the younger Longstaff brother, even if they suffered defeat in the League Two play-off final. But six months in the fourth tier is unlikely to propel the 22-year-old into Howes first-team plans and the academy graduate is expected to be made available, given he must now be registered as a senior player. His salary, however, means he may be loaned out for the final year of his deal, even if his wages are due to reduce from £20,000 a week.
Attacking midfielders/wingers 6
Allan Saint-Maximin (contract expires 2026)
The 25-year-old continues to split opinion; he is Newcastles creative talisman, contributing five goals and five assists in 2021-22, but he does not fit comfortably into a hard-working, intense off-the-ball team. Were Newcastle to receive a substantial offer for Saint-Maximin, in excess of £40 million, they would consider whether that could be reinvested into reshaping their attack. However, there is no expectation of such a bid arriving and, instead, the Frenchman will remain crucial to Newcastle in 2022-23, even if Howe hopes to have offensive reinforcements who can lessen the burden on him.
Ryan Fraser (contract expires 2025)
After a disappointing first 18 months on Tyneside, Fraser excelled once he was reunited with Howe, his former Bournemouth manager, providing energy and work rate in attack. The 28-year-old can play on either flank, or as an auxiliary wing-back, but he will face increased competition for a starting berth next season, with Newcastle hopeful of concluding a deal for Ekitike and continuing their search for additional offensive reinforcements beyond.
Miguel Almiron (contract expires 2024)
The Paraguayan ended the campaign in form, scoring a goal-of-the-season contender against Crystal Palace and showing his ability to execute a high press effectively. Yet, with just one goal and no assists across 1,721 league minutes in 2021-22, Almirons end product remains underwhelming. While Howe likes the 28-year-olds work rate, the head coach requires more goals and greater creativity from his forwards. Should a decent bid arrive, Newcastle may cash in and then reinvest to bolster their kitty, with Everton and Fulham among those linked. Almirons agent, Daniel Campos, revealed last month that his clients release clause stands at £60 million, but Newcastle would do very well to recoup a third of that, and the player is not pushing to leave.
Jacob Murphy (contract expires 2027)
Most fans will be shocked to learn that Murphy has longer remaining on his contract than Guimaraes, who only arrived in January. But the boyhood Newcastle supporter signed a long-term extension last year and he is a solid, versatile squad member, able to play as a wide forward or wing-back. The 27-year-old is expected to stay and provide back-up next season.
Elliot Anderson (contract expires 2024)
Eight goals and five assists in leading Bristol Rovers to promotion from League Two has made Anderson one of the most in-demand loanees in the EFL for 2022-23, with several Championship and League One clubs keen on him. Yet Howe has promised to observe the attacking midfielder closely during pre-season, before determining the 19-year-olds next step. A second-tier loan is likely, though Howe may be tempted to keep Anderson on Tyneside, depending on how the recruitment drive goes, as he does not need to be named in the 25-man senior squad. Talks over an improved and extended contract are also expected in the medium term.
Joe White (contract expires 2025)
The 19-year-old will also be assessed in pre-season, but he is further from regular first-team involvement than Anderson. White provided three assists during 15 League Two appearances on loan at Hartlepool United and the attacking midfielder is being lined up for another temporary spell in the EFL.
Callum Wilson (contract expires 2024)
The England international poses Newcastle with a striker quandary this summer. His impressive performances against Arsenal and Burnley, as well as his eight goals in 16 starts, showed the difference he makes to this team. However, the five months he spent on the sidelines also highlighted his durability issues and he cannot be relied upon to stay fit for a full season. Newcastle, therefore, need an alternative but a centre-forward of equivalent or better quality will cost big money, with huge fees already quoted for Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Ivan Toney and Darwin Nunez. The 30-year-olds importance to Newcastle cannot be overstated, but a goalscoring alternative with a better fitness record is required.
Chris Wood (contract expires 2024)
An emergency, needs-must signing for the second half of last season, Wood remains part of Howes plans. For a start, Newcastle would only receive a fraction of the £25 million fee they paid for the 30-year-old if they were to sell. Instead, Wood, whose work rate and tactical discipline is valued by Howe, will provide an experienced alternative off the bench, even if he may drop down to third-choice centre-forward if another senior striker arrives.
Dwight Gayle (contract expires 2024)
Gayles permanent exit has been anticipated since 2017, yet he endures, and was even given a three-year extension by the previous regime. The striker did not make a league start under Howe and is available this summer. However, offloading a 32-year-old whose last league start was in April 2021 and who has a sizeable contract with two seasons to run will be difficult. Championship clubs have shown an interest on loan, but would only be willing to pay a fraction of his wages.
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