The close season is alternately really frustrating and rather fun. It's usually a very slow news time, so we tend to latch on to each and every rumor story which is fun. It sets us up for the frustration later in the game when we as a club (inevitably) don't get the man who could have made the most direct difference in a particular season (I'm looking at you, Bafetimbi Gomis), but hey... the dreams and what-ifs are part of the experience.
We have heard of Steve McClaren's "shopping list" including loads of strikers (Charlie Austin and Bas Dost the leading contenders at this point) and "a center back". It's this last part that is troubling. Yes, we will have Jamaal Lascelles in the fold coming off of his year-long loan at Nottingham Forest, but there is also the likelihood (nay... necessity) that Mike Williamson moves on down the road to pastures ... well, whatever color that is not black and white. Combine that with Fabricio Coloccini's increasing age and waning desire and we're left where we have been for the vast majority of the Mike Ashley era. Ridiculously thin at the back. Yes, we need to score goals and that has not always been our forte. However, even if you are scoring goals, if you're leaking like a sieve at the back, it's not going to matter. Since our return to the Premier League, Newcastle's goals against have read as follows:
2014-15 season: second most in Premier League
2013-14 season: tied for fifth most
2012-13: third most
2011-12: Tied for tenth most (remember, this is the year that had Demba Ba in the first half and Papiss Cisse in the second half enjoying the goalscoring form of their careers)
2010-11: seventh most.
As the Pardew era wore on, we got worse and worse at the back. Related: we did not reinforce at CB even once outside of the sign-and-loan of Lascelles. If Steven Taylor can remain fit, he is at least a better option than Williamson (if he can, you know, avoid punching people in the back of the head) but for my money, we need at least two more CBs (particularly if Willo leaves) to leave us with Coloccini, Taylor, Lascelles, Dummett (who is potentially facing a permanent switch to CB, which would leave us thin at LB) and x player which is still dangerously thin in the event that we see a rash of injuries and suspensions at the club like we did last year. I suppose there is always Curtis Good who should be stepping up around this time but who has not been able to make a mark in a desperately thin CB corps... so who knows where we're at with him.
History shows us that we need to improve our defense. It also shows us that we likely won't. It's OK, though... history also shows us that even if we don't defend very well, a swashbuckling attack to counterbalance that fact can get us far... or at least put an attractive, consumable product on the pitch.