Callum Wilson (att) Bournemouth; Jeff Hendrick (mid) Burnley; Mark Gillespie (gk) Motherwell; Achraf Lazaar (def) Cosenza – end of loan; Jacob Murphy (mid) Sheffield Wednesday – end of loan;
Jetro Willems (r) (def) Eintracht Frankfurt – end of loan; Valentino Lazaro (sp) (mid) Inter – end of loan; Nabil Bentaleb (sp) (mid) Schlake 04 – end of loan; Danny Rose (sp) (def) Tottenham – end of loan; Freddie Woodman (gk) Swansea – on loan; Rob Elliot (gk) released; Jamie Sterry (def) released;
Considering their modest squad and departure of adored manager Rafa Benitez last summer, Newcastle did pretty well in 2019/20. The Magpies didn’t play attractive football and once again struggled for goals, but under Bruce their pragmatism brought them just about enough narrow wins to keep them out of trouble. It was a campaign of relative calm on the pitch for Newcastle, while in the ownership saga the twists and turns were plenty.
Newcastle had everything in place to become the richest English club with new Saudi owners, but delay to clearing the deal from the Federation forced the Arabs to withdraw their offer. Rumours right now are that desperate parties negotiate with them to try and buy the club again, which if it happens will immediately change the goals, the structure and the quality of players that will be attracted.
Right now the outlook for the new season is not great as the only notable new signing made is prone to injuries striker Callum Wilson. If things stay as they are Bruce will be using conservative tactics once more with 5-4-1 formation his favourite against the top teams and slightly more adventurous 3-5-1-1 shape in place against the rest.
Newcastle’s ability to soak up pressure and frustrate opponents is their main strength. Also coach Bruce is a vastly experienced veteran and he knows how to extract the maximum even from players with pretty modest general abilities.
The main weakness is the front line with last summer’s big signing Joelinton having a dismal first year in England and yet to hint that he could be a prolific goalscorer. Newcomer Wilson also had poor 2019/20 campaign and also he's player that regularly gets injured. The other area of concern is the left-back position as the departure of Willems opens a hole. Have 3-4 options for role, but Williems was the only one doing well last term.
Saga with the club’s ownership continues and, if no new rich owner is found soon, the only goal will be survival. If the interested Saudi Arabians really make Newcastle the richest club in England the goals will be much different.