Predicted position of the Guardian authors: 7th (Note: this is not necessarily Louise Taylor’s prediction, but an average of our authors’ advice)
Position last season: 11th
Odds of winning the league (via Oddschecker): 100-1
Quite normal. Under the wise leadership of Eddie Howe, Newcastle were transformed in the second half of last season and there is no reason why they should not continue on an upward trajectory.
While on paper last year’s Saudi-led takeover turned them into the richest club in the world, the owners are determined to spend money wisely and remain acutely aware of the need to stay within financial fair play rules. In other words, Howe’s reconstruction is expected to be more a case of evolution than revolution.
While signings on the pitch seem reasonable enough, the appointment of former FA and Brighton technical director Dan Ashworth as director of football and Darren Eales as chief executive looks astute. Eales, a Cambridge law graduate with experience at West Brom and Tottenham, came from MLS Atlanta, where he was greatly admired. Their appointment will give co-owner and director Amanda Staveley, who led the club superbly last season, more time to focus on wider projects.
So far, Howe seems to have bought well this summer: the widely coveted and, most importantly, left centre-back Sven Botman has arrived from Lille, England goalkeeper Nick Pope has signed for Burnley, and Matt Targett, so impressive at the last left-back. season, making his move from Aston Villa permanent. Howe is still looking for another striker and a new midfielder, but already has great talent and an outstanding leader in right-back Kieran Trippier.
There are high hopes that Brazilian player Bruno Guimarães, signed in January from Lyon, will continue to shine in midfield, but his manager will need to decide which Botman should be partnered with: Dan Bern, Fabian Cher or Jamaal Lascelles . Howe also needs to coax the gifted but sometimes frustrating Allan Saint-Maximin to become more consistent, hoping his injury-prone center Callum Wilson stays fit and Joe Willock starts to fulfill his potential.
Howe has had such success at St James’s that Newcastle fans probably think he’s capable of walking the River Tyne. Club executives wince a little when they remember that Unai Emery was their original choice to replace Steve Bruce and the former Bournemouth manager was just a fallback.
Considered the first obsessive A-ha fan (“I want other people to hear what I hear”), at the helm of Newcastle, Howe is evangelistic about the group he has been following since the 1980s. . Tactically smart and emotionally intelligent, he made a huge impression, transforming previously unsuccessful players like Cher and a clearly resurgent Joelinton. The 44-year-old describes himself as “a bit shy and introverted” and has spent part of his post-Bournemouth holiday “digitizing his workouts”. This summer, Howe took a two-week vacation to ride the West Coast of the United States with his wife and three sons, and spent his free time helping his family move to their new home in Tyneside.
Botman. Technically accomplished and physically imposing, the left-footed 22-year-old centre-back who arrived at Tyneside from Lille for £35m is considered a significant coup, especially as Serie A champions Milan, among others, were desperate for Botman’s signature. After starting his career at Ajax’s academy, Botman joined the Netherlands senior team for training camp and is considered on the verge of winning his first cap.
Impact of the World Cup
Trippier is very hopeful to be part of Gareth Southgate’s team and if he stays in shape it would be a surprise if Howe’s first signing didn’t go through. Wilson has reason to be included in England’s attacking squad, but the centre-forward should stay out of the procedural area. In the meantime, Guimarães is due to fly to Doha with Brazil. Same Cher and Switzerland.
Alternative rides during the World Cup
Try spending the night at the infamous Bigg Market and nearby waterfront, but be aware that no one wears a coat and you won’t have any credibility on the streets if you show up in something remotely woolen. Admire Antony Gormley’s famous “Angel of the North” sculpture and try to spot a resemblance to former Newcastle striker Andy Carroll. Surf the nearby North Sea beaches at Tynemouth and Whitley Bay.
Hot Selling Shirts
Bruno Guimarães, the £35m adored Brazilian midfielder signed from Lyon last January, pushed Saint-Maximin off the top of the pecking order with some better midfield records. Thousands of hearts and minds were captured when Bruno marked his full debut at Southampton by scoring the winning goal with a superb back heel. How Arsenal, who have been eyeing Guimarães for a while, must be kicking themselves for not signing him when they had the chance. Now the 24-year-old, who prefers the No. 8 position but is also capable of impressing at No. 6, is determined to help Howe’s team reach the Champions League.
Saint-Maximin: The self-proclaimed “King of Twitter” is consistently entertaining. Posts a slew of chic videos full of confusing defender edging, increasingly inventive hairdos and gorgeous Mediterranean panoramas surrounding the French winger’s holiday home in Nice. He also knows how to use social networks to help his favorite charities and good causes.
If Netflix made a documentary about Newcastle…
Planet Toon will be led by Sir David Attenborough and details life in a particularly idiosyncratic parallel universe. The soundtrack will feature the music of the manager’s favorite band, A-ha, with Saint-Maximin and Guimarães competing for the most airtime. A specially extended episode could focus on the team’s winter break in Jeddah and the refusal to hush up the deportation of Jonjo Shelvey after an embarrassing breach of etiquette in the company of various members of the Saudi royal family.