Date: 16th August 2017 at 12:13pm
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A new player picking a number at his new club was hardly news back in the day but nowadays it can spawn fifty articles on the internet.

Each one just basically saying that Joe Bloggs has got number x and it very rarely should muster anything unless it’s a club’s iconic number and an existing player gives it up or something.

Anyway, with Joselu completing his move here and him choosing the vacant number 21 shirt, the numbers game suddenly gets taken into account with the 25 man premier league squad deadline fast approaching.

So far, we have these players listed:

1 Rob Elliot
2 Ciaran Clark
3 Paul Dummett
4 Jack Colback
5 Grant Hanley
6 Jamaal Lascelles
7 Jacob Murphy
8 Jonjo Shelvey
9 Dwight Gayle
10 Mohamed Diamé
11 Matt Ritchie
14 Isaac Hayden
15 Siem de Jong
16 Rolando Aarons
17 Ayoze Pérez
18 Chancel Mbemba
19 Javier Manquillo
20 Florian Lejeune
21 Joselu
22 DeAndre Yedlin
23 Mikel Merino
24 Henri Saivet
25 Massadio Haïdara
26 Karl Darlow
27 Jesús Gámez
30 Christian Atsu
41 Freddie Woodman
42 Jamie Sterry
45 Aleksandar Mitrovic

Of the 29 players listed above, number 23 Mikel Merino and number 41 Freddie Woodman qualify as under 21 players which leaves us with 2 players that will have to miss out.

We are also in need of strengthening in a number of positions including goalkeeper, left back, central midfield as well as up front.

Realistically, Rafa Benitez would want to sell Karl Darlow and Aleksandar Mitrovic. There are also question marks over Jack Colback, Grant Hanley, Siem De Jong, Chancel Mbemba, Henri Saivet, Massidio Haidara and Jesus Gamez.

Of these, Colback has been reported in the media as having a fall out with Rafa and 1 or 2 may see an expected move stall due to the recent injuries to key players so the final 25 may be hard to predict in theory.

Even with a definite fall out aside, that will still mean 1 player will miss the cut and that’s just to make the official 25 list. Any other signings will increase the cut list further so if we do sign more players then the exit door at St James’ will need to be well oiled.