As the sun sets on a less than successful season for the Toon, considerations must be made about the size and indeed the quality of the side this season.
Looking at the table, it’s painful to see Newcastle sitting merely just above the relegation zone. For a team that boasts a proud footballing heritage, as well as a decent current side, it is unacceptable for Newcastle to be in this situation. So, when the going gets tough, changes need to be made, and here we look at one of the lads who has failed to really impress this season: Jonas Gutierrez.
It seems his shining ponytail is not the only thing growing on Tyneside for Jonas Gutiérrez. After a string of less than mediocre performances this season, the critics are lining up to lambast the 29 year old Argentinian winger after finding the net just once this term as well as looking a little more portly after the Christmas period.
Some may say that the condemnation of Gutierrez is unfair, especially as he has stayed with the club through the highs and lows of relegation and promotion. However, what Alan Pardew must realise is that loyalty to liabilities is no option, as illustrated by the feeble league attempt by Reading this season.
Indeed an alternative to Gutierrez could be former Arsenal and Real Madrid winger Jose Antonio Reyes, with both players being the same age, and seemingly needing a new start. Reyes with his superb touch and ability to cut inside the last man, as well as evidence for how he has performed at the top level suggests he could be the right fit for a Newcastle side in need of more goals, especially after the loss of Demba Ba to Chelsea in January.
Though the management have been adhering to the strict age-related transfer policy, it hasn’t been working evidently. One of the major problems is the absence of any experience on the pitch this season, and we may have to turn our intentions in focusing on older, more experienced players.
However, another player that could seriously bolster a depleted attack is another Iberian based player, in Andre Carrillo who has a real burst of pace perfectly adapted to the Premier League. Indeed Carrillo is currently a Sporting Lisbon winger which could prove to be a successful buy if another former Sporting Lisbon winger, a certain Cristiano Ronaldo is anything to go by.
However, another issue with the team is the fact that the team is packed to the rafters with French players as they have allegedly been the cause of the substantial rift in the dressing room.
Furthermore, one does have to blame the late goals and sloppy defeats on a the ‘laissez fait’ attitude within the squad, not helped by these French players on high salaries.
If next season is to be successful, it seems like Pardew must get rid of the players who no longer offer what they used to, and replace them with the quality needed to enable the Magpies to embed themselves, as they deserve, back among the football elite.
Where do you believe the squad needs strengthening, and what do you believe is to blame for our failures this season?