Rafa has talked in recent days about our squad`s lack of experience. The manager believes that we need wiser heads within our first team in order to manage games and seal vital wins.
Speaking to the Shields Gazette, the Spaniard seems to be hinting at bringing in some older players to help out the younger squad members:
‘There have been times where we have lacked a bit of quality and experience in the final third, and we haven`t always managed things well enough. But that`s what happens when you`re at this level and you play against very good players. Our team is a young team, and we need a little bit more experience in how to manage situations like this.’
Although it is highly speculative at this stage to know what will happen over the next few months regarding the takeover, if we do stay in the Premier League, but the club remains firmly in Mike Ashley`s hands, the likelihood is that we will have very little to spend in the summer. So with that in mind, I have looked at the players whose contracts expire at the end of the season that could give us the experience we need:
The 30-year-old has so far refused to sign a new contract at Old Trafford, despite Jose Mourinho rating him highly. The Belgian is an unorthodox player, but he would give our midfield a more physical presence, and would undoubtedly boost our aerial threat.
Although certainly not the type of footballer Newcastle would normally be looking to sign, his 242 appearances in the Premier League make him a highly experienced player at this level, being both able to break up play, whilst contributing goals as well.
With Jack Colback unlikely to be welcomed back to Tyneside after his loan spell at Nottingham Forest, another player in a similar mould could prove to be useful in our squad.
We have Isaac Hayden who can play a screening role in front of our back four, but the likes of Mikel Merino, Mo Diame and Jonjo Shelvey lack that sort of discipline in the middle of the park. The Scottish international is available on a free transfer in the summer, and at 30-years of age, he still has a few years left in him.
While providing cover in central midfield areas, he can also score a few, and he`s has hit the back of the net five times already this season, more than all of our other centre midfield options combined.
Kenedy will return to Chelsea at the end of his loan spell, and despite the Brazilian playing well in the matches he`s played so far, he`s likely to be too expensive at the moment to sign on a permanent basis. So, we may be looking for alternatives and the Juventus left back would likely be considered.
The Ghanaian can be play either at full back or as a winger like the Blues loanee, but the 29-year-old is far more experienced with 69 international caps and 144 games for Juve. He still is part of Max Allegri`s first team plans at the Italian club with 14 appearances to his name this season, but he is likely to leave at the end of his contract in July.