2. Ciaran Clark – Has been a revelation this season after his switch from Villa. He had a very troublesome time in the Premier League beforehand though. However, he deserves another crack at it.
KEEP, but not as first choice
3. Paul Dummett – Had a steady season up until lately when mistakes have begun to creep in again. I would really worry about him at the highest level.
KEEP, but as a squad player
4. Jack Colback - He never lacks effort and always puts himself about, but the majority of fans would not be too displeased to see the back of him in the summer.
5. Grant Hanley – This man was signed for a sole purpose, to get the team out of the division. He was never going to start every game, but has added experience and Championship know-how.
6. Jamaal Lascelles – This is an interesting one, to say the least. He was given the armband in the summer after showing leadership qualities during the end of Newcastle’s Premier League stay. Lately though, the skipper has been borderline woeful. When he is on it, he can be great, especially in the air. When he isn’t, you wonder why he is even on the team. Big season coming up.
7. Achraf Lazaar – Signed from Palermo after being labelled one of Serie A’s finest full-backs, but has barely kicked a ball. Either Benitez just doesn’t rate him or signed him with the Premier League in mind. I would think there is a big chance of him being shipped out elsewhere in the summer, although I would keep hold of him if it was my choice.
KEEP and give him a chance
8. Vurnon Anita – Out of contract in the summer, but has proven useful over the last 10 months. A utility player, but no more than that. Since returning from injury, he has looked a little shaky.
KEEP as a squad player
9. Dwight Gayle – Eyebrows were raised when £10 million was paid out for his services. I think it is fair to say he has proven every single one wrong. 21 goals (and would have more if it weren’t for injury) is nothing to be sniffed at, but the Premier League is a different beast.
11. Matt Ritchie – One of the few players that I would be comfortable saying is ready for the Premier League. That is where he belongs.
12. Jonjo Shelvey – Anyone that has watched Newcastle this season will know just how crucial he is to their cause. He is quite simply the best player at the club, he has to stay.
14. Isaac Hayden – Isaac has been a very pleasant surprise this year. Not many would have guessed how important he would be to the side. Only for picking up a recent ankle injury, he would have surpassed the 40 appearance mark in his debut season. He isn’t going to do anything special, but will do all the work nobody else wants to do. He does it well, too.
15. Mohammed Diamé – I’m going to be controversial and say that Mo Diamé should be let go. At the age of 29, he is not going to get any better. At this time of writing, he has 6 goals (3 in the League Cup) and 2 assists. For a number ten, playing in the second tier, that is far from good enough. He has impressed in spells, but ultimately has just not proved what all the fuss was about.
16. Rolando Aarons – Yet another injury-plagued campaign for the young winger. He is due to return soon, but will have a lot of work to do to prove he can cut it at the club.
KEEP, but has to prove himself.
17. Ayoze Pérez – More frustration. Ayoze has somehow bagged 9 goals and added 6 assists, yet still left people tearing their hair out. A supremely talented boy, but has to maintain a level of consistency.
KEEP, but a new no.10 is needed
18. Chancel Mbemba – Bizarrely slipped down the pecking order after a promising debut season on Tyneside. According to rumours, Benitez has lost faith in him after he failed to carry out simple instructions earlier in the season. In my opinion, he remains the best defender at the club and I would keep him. I have my doubts that he will still be a Newcastle player next season.
KEEP, but looks as good as gone
19. Massadio Haïdara – Probably the first name on the list of those to be sold. The young Frenchman has never really cut the mustard at Newcastle. Injuries haven’t helped his cause.
20. Yoan Gouffran – Totally rejuvenated under Benitez this campaign but question marks remain as to whether or not he would be effective in the Premier League. My heart says to give him a chance, but my head says not to take any risks this time around.
21. Rob Elliot – Last season’s player of the year now finds himself unable to usurp Karl Darlow for the number 1 jersey. I have a feeling a new goalkeeper will be brought in, which would push the Irishman further down the pecking order. He is too good to be sat on a bench every week.
22. DeAndre Yedlin – Public reaction to news of his long-term injury tells you all you need to know. His pace is something that really frightens players and stops opposition full-backs getting forward. He really has been an excellent addition. We should thank the Mackems for not paying the money for him.
26. Karl Darlow – Proven to be a very capable shot-stopper but there are issues he needs to address. Mistakes have really cost Newcastle at times and he has to cut those out of his game. Would be a very good second choice in the Premiership.
KEEP, but not as first choice
27. Jesús Gámez – The Spaniard has barely featured through injury, but proper judgements will be easier to make from now on. Yedlin’s injury gives him the chance to show what he can do. The jury is very much out.
28. Matz Sels – I would put money on the Belgian being sold when the window opens. He has not adapted to English football at all. Early mistakes ultimately cost him his place, which he has failed to win back as of yet. He is already gone in my eyes.
30. Christian Atsu – He has actually really impressed me. Three goals and two assists sounds mediocre, but it cannot be forgotten that he has only started 11 times. He is by no means a Premier league starter, but may prove rather useful off the bench. Think of Lomana Lua Lua, without the backflips.
BUY, for no more than £6 million
33. Daryl Murphy – The signing of this man was one that was scoffed at by many when it happened. Fast forward to now and people are begging for him to start most weeks. Since being granted his chance, he has taken it with both hands. No doubt he is a big character in the dressing room, which is why I feel he should be kept hold of for another year.
34. Sammy Ameobi – I’m not going to waste time talking about Sammy. His departure has been long, long overdue.
LET GO, PLEASE
42. Jamie Sterry – A lack of fitness on Gámez’s behalf, coupled with Vurnon Anita’s injury lay-off, meant that the youngster had to be recalled from his loan spell at Coventry. The only thing I see happening with him is another loan, hopefully to a Championship club this time.
KEEP, but loan out
45. Aleksandar Mitrović – Perhaps the most talked about player over the last 18 months at Newcastle. This was supposed to be his year, but it has been far from it. The Serbian has found himself playing third fiddle to Gayle and Murphy recently, something nobody would have thought at the beginning of the season. According to Lee Ryder of the Chronicle, he will stay at the club for at least another season, and my oh my does he have it all to do. I have total faith in him, though.
Players out on loan:
Tim Krul – LET GO
Freddie Woodman – KEEP, but loan out
Kevin Mbabu – KEEP, but loan out
Siem De Jong – LET GO
Henri Saivet – LET GO
Ivan Toney – KEEP, but loan out
Emmanuel Rivière – LET GO
Adam Armstrong – KEEP, but loan out
Players already leaving: