Newcastle United are down to four defenders following the announcement that Paul Dummett would miss some time (some sources are reporting two weeks, while others say "months") with a knee injury.
The news is so bad that it almost doesn't need to be stated. The back line is by far the weakest part of the team, and has been for some time. Nevertheless, Lee Charnley and company have seen fit to loan out Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Davide Santon, and Remie Streete in the last 12 months, leaving an already thin position even thinner. Dummett's injury now exposes the team - an in-game injury would be catastrophic, not to mention the week-to-week wear and tear that will come from playing all four players for 90 minutes without exception.
This is a situation that was created during the transfer windows and is now being revealed during the lame duck portion of Newcastle's season. That this isn't the worst commentary on the ineptitude of the front office speaks volumes.
Newcastle have allowed the fourth-most goals in the league thus far, and are just three goals behind last-in-the-table Leicester City. They are on pace to allow 56, which is somehow better than last year's 59. This development will surely see them pushing 60, which is an absolute embarrassment.
Perhaps the most embarrassing part of it, however, is that this entire situation was not only foreseeable but preventable. Is there anybody left who doubts that the club's ambition is to stay safely in the mid-table?