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Newcastle: Howe must axe Lascelles

Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe has some tough decisions to make heading into the January transfer window.

The ex-Bournemouth manager is reportedly looking to strengthen his squad and has been linked with a swoop for Lille centre-back Sven Botman.

This suggests that he wants to bolster his defence and the arrival of Botman may result in him needing to axe a current first-team central defender.

Axe him

One player he must brutally axe from the starting XI by signing a replacement in January is Jamaal Lascelles. The £55k-per-week dud is a liability at Premier League level, making too many errors at the back.

Does Lascelles need to be replaced?

Yes

Yes

No

No

This was summed up perfectly in the 4-0 defeat to Leicester last weekend. He conceded a penalty in the first half as his outstretched leg allowed James Maddison to fly into him and win a spot-kick.

Irrespective of the English midfielder’s overexaggerated fall to the ground, the Magpies skipper was rash in his movement and got nowhere near the ball when he stuck a boot out – leaving himself open to giving away a foul.

Lascelles ended the game with a SofaScore rating of 5.6 as he lost three of his five duels and failed to make a single tackle or interception, whilst making just one clearance and one block.

This was not a one-off performance for the skipper, with Toon legend Alan Shearer recently blasting him for his performance against Arsenal, in particular for Bukayo Saka’s opening goal, saying:

“He has got to realise that Saka is the problem, he has got to engage, he has got to come over a second earlier and do that rather than stand there and do nothing with his hands in the air. It’s terrible defending.”

Howe has confirmed that two of the club’s centre-backs will be out throughout the Christmas schedule, revealing:

“Paul Dummett is still out long term, although he’s making good progress. We’ve lost Federico Fernández through injury. We’re not sure of the extent, but he’ll miss this game and the majority over the festive period.”

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This limits his options in the short term and he may have to persist with the pairing of Fabian Schar and Lascelles for now, but that could change when the January transfer window opens. If they are able to bring Botman in from Lille then it could allow Howe to tinker with his team and stop playing the ex-Nottingham Forest man at the back.

Therefore, next month could be crucial for the Magpies in their hopes of improving their defensive record as injuries dictate that bringing in new signings may be the only way for things to improve.

If Newcastle want to remain in the top-flight they cannot afford to have their defenders making regular errors and that is why the 43-year-old coach must brutally axe Lascelles by adding to his squad in the market.

AND in other news, “Newcastle are…”: Ornstein drops exciting transfer update that’ll leave fans buzzing…

Article title: Newcastle: Howe must axe Lascelles

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