Fourth from bottom and only a point above the relegation zone sounds like a precarious position for Newcastle to be in after more than three months of the season.
But the truth is that it’s progress from where they found themselves just a few short weeks ago.
Steve McClaren has now posted two wins as Newcastle boss as the Magpies have clawed their way out of the Premier League relegation zone, but there’s still a long way until May.
What will have most concerned Newcastle fans – and, they hope, their board – was the manner in which they beat Bournemouth last weekend. Newcastle were outplayed and frankly outclassed by newly promoted opposition who have been ravaged by injury and lost pretty much all of their key players.
That should, we hope, be enough to spark the Newcastle transfer machine into action, and even though they spent quite a bit of money in the summer, the risk of going down and the financial meltdown that would come of that is surely much worse than spending money in January.
With that in mind, here are five transfer rumours that Newcastle have been linked with over the last few weeks that might rear their heads again in January as Steve McClaren tries to stave off the relegation battle at St James’s Park…
I’m sure that Newcastle fans wouldn’t hate the idea of bringing the big man back home again. But certainly not if the fee involved were high.
Carroll is a gamble given his recent injury lay-offs, and if Newcastle were to pay over about £10m for the England striker they’d certainly be worried about the return they’d get on their investment.
Having said that, Newcastle have struggled for goals somewhat this season, so bringing in a man who has proved he can find the net in the Premier League may not be bad business for a club seemingly going in the wrong direction in the Premier League.
Tim Krul’s injury lay-off has really just rubbed salt into Newcastle’s wounds this season. The Dutch keeper is one of the best in the league on his day, and Newcastle’s saviour on a regular basis. But losing him not only means losing one of the best players in the squad, but it also means losing the man who breeds confidence in his back four.
A goalkeeper with a proven track record in Victor Valdes might be the best way forward, even if Rob Elliot had a great game against Bournemouth.
With Newcastle’s defensive record standing on a par with those around them in the table, it’s no surprise that they’re right down at the bottom of the table. Newcastle aren’t scoring enough and they’re conceding too much, which is the kind of stat that makes football seem easy.
But in a way it is, when you’re conceding too many goals you need to shore up at the back, and Tom Lees has been putting in some sterling performances for Sheffield Wednesday this season at centre back, and is a target for other Premier League clubs too.
A January move for a young Championship centre back may not be the solution to Newcastle’s defensive woes, but it would add impetus for the rest of the season and maybe keep the others on their toes, and bringing in a player who’s on form may not be such a bad idea at the moment, considering how low things must be at St James’s Park just now.
Once labeled England’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Andros Townsend hasn’t really managed to hit those heights in the Premier League. Or on the international scene either. Actually it’s probably best to scrap that label altogether.
But just because he’s no Cristiano Ronaldo doesn’t mean he isn’t a good, promising player who could have a big role to play for club and country given the hard work and little bit of luck that every top player needs. And his link to Newcastle might be a good thing for him and for the club.
He’d bring a directness, a pace and a power to Newcastle that they’re lacking at the moment, and his influence on the team might just help them climb out of trouble.
Linked with Vestergaard over the summer, Newcastle might be back in for another try. It looks like Steve McClaren likes the look of the Danish centre half, and with Werder Bremen’s recent financial worries, they might be open to letting Vestergaard leave in January.
He’s big defender who would bring solidity and a much-needed height to Newcastle’s side, although they might face stiff competition from Everton for his signature.