The Aussie view, how are we lining up against Spurs, and where do we need to strengthen?


G'day Newcastle fans, with Florian Lejeune finally across the line (he must have walked to Tyneside), and Atsu being made permanent a while ago, Newcastle appear to finally be building a squad for the Premier League. However, this got me thinking if the transfer window were to end right now, how would we line up for our first game?

For the purpose of this article, I will be using a 4-2-3-1, as this is Rafa's preferred formation. This is my opinion on how we should line up if the window closed now, and where strenghtneing may be required. Also, sorry for the length.

GOALKEEPER:

Karl Darlow

A difficult choice here as we aren't exactly in short supply, with Krul, Elliot and Woodman all viable options for this position. I have personally gone for Darlow as he played 34 games last season and was generally solid, and thus deserves the first crack at premier league football, of the current crop. Like most keepers, he has a mistake in him but is a reliable stopper, with the quality to play premier league football.

Other options at the club: Elliot, Krul, Woodman

Verdict on strengthening: With Krul a strong chance of being sold, and Woodman looking like being loaned out again, I think we could do with a new goalkeeper, ideally with Premier League experience. Not priority number 1, but something we should probably do, depending on other signings and who leaves.

RIGHT BACK:

Deandre Yedlin

Pretty straight forward here, considering that Anita and Mbabu have both walked out the door. Yedlin had a strong season in the Championship, and is a classic modern fullback, who provides pace down the wing, overlaps the right midfielder and puts crosses into the box. However, he needs to make some defensive improvements, which I think he will make under Rafa. Gamez is a solid defensive option who didn't get much of a crack at the Championship, largely due to injury and could potentially provide good cover if needed.

Other options: Gamez, Sterry,

Verdict on strengthening: This is one position where I think we could be ok as even if Sterry goes out on loan, we still have 2 viable options (provided Gamez stays and does not get injured as much), as well as Hayden if need be. Furthermore, with a 3 at the back formation being discussed, a new right back is probably not high on the agenda for the club.

CENTRE BACK:

Florian Lejeune

It's taken long enough, but we have finally landed a key target. Lejeune is somebody who many of us had heard very little about until about a month ago, when every second article I read on Newcastle had his name in it. However, from looking at numbers and watching a little bit of footage, he appears to be a very shrewd acquisition by Benitez, who will probably be a walk-up starter for the first premier league match of the season. Lejeune won 77.7% of his aerial duels in La Liga last season, which was the best of any player to contest more than 50 in that league. Additionally, he also averaged over 10 defensive actions per game, and was Eibar's highest rated player last year according to Squawka.