As Newcastle United were relegated to the Championship at the conclusion of the 2015-16 season, there was a mass exodus of players, many whom belonged to the first team. While Rafael Benitez did not originally sign many of those players, he recently implied they all have the chance to prove their worth and stay on Tyneside.
Many of those players are back in training with Benitez and the crew, so its worthwhile to investigate what their role will be as the season begins in just a month.
Tim Krul, Returning from AZ Alkmaar
This is quite possibly the most awkward of the returning loanees. One of the few Newcastle United academy players to become a fixture in the starting XI, Krul has been a Toon player since he was called up in 2006. After a few years on loan, Krul made his Premier League debut in 2009, and has been between the posts 160 times for the Magpies.
Last season, Krul was originally loaned out to Ajax, but never featured and was moved to Ajax II. Realizing he would not have the chance to start for Ajax’s first team, he was subsequently moved to AZ Alkmaar for the second half of the season. While with AZ, he started 16 league games, posting 3 shutouts and accumulating a 6.67 overall rating according to WhoScored.
Highlight of His Season: A penalty shootout success to help AZ into the Dutch League Cup Final.
Transfermarkt Value: £3.40m
Verdict: Keep — At least until reinforcements arrive. Krul has experience in the Premier League, and there is little other experience at keeper in the current squad. If Newcastle cannot bring another keeper in, Krul may be their best bet. Along with his low transfer value after an up and down season, it’s best to keep him on the books, for now at least.
UPDATE - Tim Krul was not included in the preseason trip to Ireland. Seems as if he’ll be off to another club soon enough.
Henri Saivet, Returning from Saint-Étienne
Saivet is a curious player to United supporters. He was signed during the reign of Steve McClaren, which was a very odd time in recent history. Most people didn’t understand who was recommending players to Lee Charnley, and Saivet was a very unheard of French player. He arrived from Bordeaux for £4.5m, and only played in four matches with the first team.
Last season, Saivet was with French-side Saint Etienne. He played 21 times, scoring once, adding two assists, and accumulating a 6.63 match rating.
Highlight of His Season: Scoring the game winning goal against Caen.
Transfermarkt Value: £5.00m
Verdict: Keep. Newcastle United are hurting for midfielders right now, with only Shelvey and Hayden as solidified quality players. Colback and Diame need to go, and if no one else comes in, Saivet could play a crucial role off the bench for the Toon.
Adam Armstrong, Returning from Barnsley
Another Newcastle United academy product, Adam Armstrong has had quite the struggle getting selected into United’s first team. Armstrong has been with Newcastle since he was 10 years of age, and has made 17 top flight appearances for the Magpies with no goals scored. Many supporters are ready for him to either make his mark with the first team, or start the next chapter in his journey.
After lighting the world on fire with Coventry City in 2015-16, Armstrong spent 2016-17 with Championship club Barnsley. During his spell with Barnsley, Armstrong featured 34 times in the Championsip, scoring 6 times and earning a 6.45 match rating.
Highlight of his season: Winning Barnsley’s goal of the season award, as he skinned a defender and curled the ball around a diving goalkeeper.
Transfermarkt Value: £1.5m
Verdict: Loan Out to a Championship Contender. Armstrong has done well virtually everywhere he’s gone, and now it’s time for him to show that one more time before he’s Premier League ready. If he can go to a club like Leeds or Fulham and show his value, 2018-19 may be his big chance to break in to the team sheet on Tyneside.
*UPDATE* - Adam Armstrong has been loaned out to Bolton Wanderers on a short-term deal. Not the ideal landing spot, but he should have a chance to shine before returning to Newcastle in January.
Siem de Jong, returning from PSV Eindhoven
This may be the most vital returning player to Newcastle United. Siem De Jong came to Newcastle when they went on a spending spree, along with Remy Cabella, Manu Riviere, and many others. De Jong was a highly touted player, who was the captain of Ajax and expected to be an integral part of the first team for years to come. However, injuries did him in and he eventually had to leave as Newcastle were relegated.
De Jong played last season with PSV, featuring 19 times and netting 6 goals. WhoScored gave him a 6.76 overall match rating for his efforts. He finished his season strong, with 6 goals in his last 360 minutes.
Transfermarkt Value: £5.50m
Verdict: Keep, keep, keep. Siem De Jong is one of the most talented players currently on Tyneside. Furthermore, Newcastle have a serious issue at the #10 position. If somehow, de Jong can avoid the injury bug, he could quite possibly be Newcastle’s player of the season.
As the transfer window drags on, and Newcastle continue to struggle in signing new players, we could see the opportunities for these four players become more clear. As their situations develop, we will continue to keep you up to speed on their Premier League status.