Newcastle’s 22/23 XI with two £30m targets headlining 6 summer signings
Newcastle United are interested in Real Betis playmaker Nabil Fekir and Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, so what could Eddie Howe’s XI look like next season with both signed?
The Toon boss is eagerly scouring the market for options to strengthen his ranks at St James’ Park this summer. Howe led the Magpies to 11th-place in the Premier League during his first season at the helm. But with the Saudi-back resources, has his eyes on pushing up the table.
Newcastle have not finished in the top-half of the standings in the last four seasons and also last qualified for Europe in 2012. Just seven more points would have returned the Toon to a UEFA cup. But goals scored and conceded also left the club with a minus-18 goal difference.
United only managed to find the net 44 times in 38 games and allowed 62 at the other end. Only five teams conceded more often, while only eight scored fewer and only six ended the campaign with a worse goal difference. No side who finished higher had a worse difference.
Newcastle interested in renewed attempt at Real Betis raid for Nabil Fekir
Howe is now interested in improving Newcastle’s offensive and defensive records next term with transfers for Real Betis maestro Fekir and Napoli enforcer Koulibaly. Both can arrive on Tyneside to raise the levels at either end, and help set a marker for the new era at St James’.
The Mirror (29/05, p75) report Newcastle’s interest in signing Fekir and note the club sought a deal during January. But Real Betis were loath to let the Frenchman leave mid-season, and would now demand £30m to sell Fekir after the 28-year-old signed a new contract to 2026.
Arsenal are also monitoring Fekir’s situation at the Benito Villamarin Stadium after providing 10 goals and 10 assists this season. He hit double figures in both tallies over 47 games in all competitions. Manuel Pellegrini additionally occasionally gave Fekir the captain’s armband.
Eddie Howe exploring Napoli swoop with Newcastle interested in Kalidou Koulibaly
Howe is also interested in signing a new centre-half, as Calciomercato.it report Koulibaly sits on Newcastle’s shortlist of targets. The 30-year-old will be out of contract with the Azzurri in 2023, and has only been offered fresh terms of around half his €6m-a-year (£98k-a/w) wage.
President Aurelio De Laurentiis is looking to lower Napoli’s wage bill by 30%, but will have a final meeting with Koulibaly soon. If a new deal remains unlikely, the Serie A side would put the 57-cap Senegal star up for sale from €35m (£30m) with several potential suitors keen.
Juventus are interested in keeping Koulibaly in Italy, while Inter Milan and Roma have also requested further information. Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain would also like to tempt the defender into leaving Serie A. Napoli have also already rejected a bid from Aston Villa.
Several leading hurdles could emerge in front of the Magpies if Howe looks to strike a deal with De Laurentiis, then. But what would the Newcastle XI look like next season if Howe is able to secure transfers with Napoli and Real Betis amid his interest in Koulibaly and Fekir…
Dean Henderson (GK): Newcastle interested in Manchester United backup
Newcastle could start next season with a new goalkeeper to replace Martin Dubravka with the club interested in Manchester United backup Dean Henderson. That’s according to The Northern Echo, who report the Toon are ready to offer £15m and hope for a quick transfer.
Henderson has seen his stock plummet in the past two seasons after impressing on loan at Sheffield United. After keeping 13 clean sheets in 36 games during his debut Premier League term in 2019/20, the 25-year-old has played just 13 matches since returning to Old Trafford.
Kieran Trippier (RB): January addition bounces back from injury frustration
Kieran Trippier instantly cemented a presence in the Newcastle squad after joining for £12m from Atletico Madrid in January. He even captained the club against Aston Villa in February, but also suffered a metatarsal fracture against Villa and will want to bounce back next term.
Kalidou Koulibaly (CB): Newcastle interested in Napoli enforcer
Koulibaly would be a guaranteed starter with Newcastle should Howe prove successful with his interest in the Napoli star. The centre-half is a proven leader and would take the Toon to another level in defence – as evident by Juventus’ interest following Giorgio Chiellini leaving.
Dan Burn (CB): January addition could merit prolonged presence
Dan Burn may merit earning a prolonged presence in the Toon defence following his efforts after joining in January. Howe saw the defender turn in towering performances after leaving Brighton for £13m, and saving on another centre-half would free up spending for elsewhere.
Renan Lodi (LB): Newcastle to trigger club-record release clause for Atletico Madrid star
Newcastle are interested in returning to Atletico Madrid for another full-back this summer in Renan Lodi. That’s according to Football Transfers, who note Howe explored a move this January, too. But the gaffer would now face paying a Toon-record fee to sign the Brazilian.
Reports by Mundo Deportivo add that Los Colchoneros will demand clubs pay Lodi’s €60m (£51m) release clause this summer. Yet what could aid Howe’s efforts is that the 24-year-old is keen to leave the Wanda Metropolitano to cement his presence in Tite’s World Cup plans.
Bruno Guimaraes (CM): April’s Player of the Month to fight for Player of the Season
Newcastle named Bruno Guimaraes as the Magpies’ Player of the Month for April and next term should see the Brazilian fight to be named Player of the Season. He produced a stellar month in April, scoring twice against Leicester and once at Norwich and assisted one goal.
Guimaraes’ creativity regularly brought St James’ to life after his January transfer from Lyon. Now, Howe will expect his £35m, rising to up to £41.5m, star to reach an even higher level.
Harry Winks (CM): Newcastle and Southampton interested in Tottenham midfielder
Newcastle could further improve Howe’s midfield this summer with the Toon interested in Tottenham Hotspur star Harry Winks. That’s according to the Daily Mail, who report United and Southampton lead the race for the England technician. But Spurs are demanding £25m.
Winks has fallen out of favour in north London under Antonio Conte and could now leave in search of regular minutes. Now, chairman Daniel Levy is willing to listen to offers for the 10-cap talent, whom Gareth Southgate has praised for his ability in the holding midfield role.
“He’s in that category of a very good footballer who can connect defence to attack very well,” Southgate said of Winks, via the Daily Mail, in 2019. Adding: “His performances for us in Spain and Lithuania from the very first ball, he has always played consistently well.”
Nabil Fekir (CM): Newcastle interested in Real Betis playmaker
Howe would hope to see Fekir take Newcastle’s creativity to another level amid his interest in the Real Betis maestro. The 28-year-old ended the 2021/22 La Liga season as the league’s second-best playmaker with 86 key passes and created 12 clear cut chances, per SofaScore.
Moussa Diaby (RW): Bayer Leverkusen winger among Newcastle’s top targets
Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby is one of Newcastle’s top targets during the summer transfer sales, according to The Telegraph. Talks have also been held over the Frenchman’s availability, but any deal would set United back in excess of the record £40m for Joelinton.
Howe admires Diaby considerably following the 22-year-old scoring 17 and creating 14 goals in 42 games this season. He can also play from either wing or through the centre, and would add rapid pace after achieving a top speed of 35.99 kmh (22.3 mph) in the Bundesliga term.
Callum Wilson (ST): Forward can still offer a dangerous threat on Tyneside
Callum Wilson showed against Arsenal and then on the final day at Burnley that he can still offer Howe a dangerous attacking threat. The 30-year-old returned from four months out with a calf/Achilles issue to run the Gunners ragged before then scoring twice at Turf Moor.
If Newcastle are unable to flutter the cash on a marquee centre-forward, Wilson will expect to start next season as the first-choice. And if players of Diaby and Fekir’s quality arrive at St James’ to improve the creativity, Wilson will want his best Premier League season yet.
Allan Saint-Maximin (LW): Newcastle will not let wing wizard leave
Keeping Allan Saint-Maximin will be crucial for Newcastle this summer to show the club will not let Howe’s best players leave. And the Daily Mail note that United chiefs will now reject all approaches for the Frenchman, after warming to listening to offers in the region of £50m.
Saint-Maximin has been the wizard on the wings since arriving at St James’ for £20m from Nice in 2019. He dazzles oppositions and creates havoc like no other player during his time with the Toon. But Wilson’s injury denied him someone to finish the chances he creates.
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