Is Newcastle’s transfer strategy a cause for concern?

Newcastle United and manager Chris Hughton did a fantastic job winning the Coca-Cola Championship and regaining their place amongst the top flight.

It is reported that he will only be given £15m to spend in order to strengthen his squad, is this enough? Should the Newcastle fans be concerned with the club’s transfer policy?

The Toon boss believes that the squad who successfully won the Championship in their first season should be given the chance to have a crack at the top flight and doesn’t expect any major changes in the squad this summer.

“I am realistic enough to know that it is also a very tough division,” said Hughton, who then added: “My responsibility will be to assess where we need strengthening and where we need cover. I certainly don’t anticipate a lot of players coming in.”

Players such as Strømsgodset striker Marcus Pedersen and Ipswich starlet Conor Whickham, who has attracted the eyes of Spurs, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United over recent months, but are more proven names needed to survive in the top-flight?

Personally I believe that Newcastle are the best equipped out of the teams coming up from the Championship level and should be able to survive comfortably. Jose Enrique (grown in his time at Newcastle and a real star this season), Kevin Nolan, Joey Barton and Ryan Taylor are just a part of a squad which boasts Premier League experience. However, although the likes of Fabricio Coloccini seem to have improved this season the Magpies’ defence conceded 59 goals the last time they competed at the top and they will be facing a different class of striker in the English top division next term.

Newcastle have been pretty free scoring this term (90), much like Wolverhampton were when they won the Championship the previous year (scoring 80 goals). But Wolves have found scoring hard this term despite adding Republic of Ireland striker Kevin Doyle to their attack. Mick McCarthy’s side and Alex McGleish’s Birmingham City (who also survived the drop out of last season’s promoted sides) were successful because of their solid defending. Newcastle may want to invest in their defence, especially after Stephen Taylor had a bust-up with Andy Carroll leaving a few question marks over the former’s future in the north-east. The Toon defence may want to add a veteran with bags of experience like Birmingham did with Stephen Carr, Wolves with Jody Craddock and Arsenal with Sol Campbell.

They should also bolster their attacking options as they could do with a bit more depth there and someone like out-of-favour Tottenham striker Robbie Keane. The Republic of Ireland striker is attainable and could flourish at St James’ Park and could be the perfect foil for a big target man like Carroll. They may also want to have a look at a few of the Portsmouth, Burnley and Hull players who were relegated this season as Frederic Piquionne, Aruna Dindane, Steven Fletcher and Jimmy Bullard may all be up for sale this summer (especially the Pompey duo whose club is in administration).

Although I think Newcastle have enough to survive next term I think a big club like them have the potential to do so much more than just staying if they bolster their ranks. However, it is good to see that the manager has faith in his players and perhaps they can be the surprise of next season and do as well as Birmingham did this year.

I think that Newcastle should be ambitious in the coming season and back their manager Hughton, who has one year left on his contract, giving him the best possible chance to succeed. The Newcastle fans may be worried about a lack of investment in the squad, but will perhaps think they have more than enough quality to do the bare minimum and survive.

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