Magpies fans may be rejoicing at the news that manager Rafa Benitez has signed a new contract and agreed to stay on for a further three years, despite the club’s relegation. However, the Spaniard has a lot of work to do before the start of the season. The club is rotten from the core, and only a big clear out of players can fix this. Of course, the loss of money involved in dropping to the Championship means that relegated teams have an almost entirely new side by the start of August, and these are the five players who must leave Newcastle United in the summer.
Siem De Jong
Siem De Jong’s Newcastle career is one blighted by consistent injuries. He arrived in 2014 on a wave of optimism from Dutch champions Ajax. Having captained the Eredivisie giants during their record four consecutive titles between 2010 and 2014, expectations were high and fans were excited to see their new man in action.
However, in two years the Dutchman has made just 22 appearances and scored just once. His injuries have ranged from standard thigh strains to the more bizarre, including a collapsed lung and an eye injury which almost left him blind.
Whilst these injuries are of course not his fault, it seems likely that De Jong will struggle in the physically-demanding Championship. Coupled with the fact that he is one of the higher earners in the squad, and it’s likely that Rafa will try to cash in on the injury-prone midfielder.
Papiss Cissé is something of an enigma. The eccentric Senegalese centre-forward arrived in 2012 from Freiburg for £9 million. As the club’s new number nine, he instantly cemented himself as a fan favourite, scoring 13 goals in 14 games as the Magpies raced to a fifth-placed finish. Included in this run were two spectacular goals against Chelsea to seal European Qualification, the second of which won goal of the season.
Since then, however, his form has been patchy to say the least. In 97 further apperances for Newcastle, he’s managed just 31 goals. Admittedly, the loss of the creative brilliance of Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye did not help, but spending most of his playing time offside did little to help his cause.
His spectacular goals will always be remembered, but his advancing age and high wages mean that his place in the new Newcastle United squad is under threat. It won’t be a surprise if he’s moved on to pastures new before the end of the summer.
Yoan Gouffran was signed in January 2013 by Alan Pardew—a man who seemed convinced that striker and winger were essentially the same position. Although never prolific, the striker scored a reasonable twelve goals in 27 games for French side Bordeaux in his final half season.
Pardew immediately moved him out wide. In doing so, he replaced the talented Ben Arfa with the hard-working Gouffran, much to the despair of many fans. He managed just three further goals that season, and only seven the following year.
Since then, he’s been deployed in a string of strange positions, including a run this season in midfield. It’s clear that the Frenchman does not fit in at Newcastle, and the sooner he moves on, the better for both parties.
Coloccini is undoubtedly a stalwart of the club. The Argentine centre-back has amassed nearly 250 appearances for Newcastle since arriving in 2008. However, despite being a quality centre-back touted by many big clubs, he has become a rapidly eroding rock at the heart of a shaky defence.
His off-field dramas seem to have affected him, and it looks to many that his desire to play for the club has evaporated. Fans have stated his contract renewal in the summer to be one of Steve McClaren’s worst signings during his short tenure.
Coloccini has made great contributions to the Magpies, but it’s time for him to say goodbye, and allow some new blood to take his place. If the black and whites can keep hold of Jamal Lascelles and Chancel Mbemba, then the former captain is surely surplus to requirements.
If anyone personifies the sheer lack of passion in Newcastle United this season, it’s Moussa Sissoko. The Frenchman has talent, that is undeniable. However, his attitude is all wrong. He clearly believes he is a far better footballer than his performances have shown him to be, and seems to be certain that a relegation battle is beneath him.
He has wanted out for some time, and Rafa will undoubtedly grant him his wish. However, whether he gets his wish of Champions League football is another matter.
Newcastle will likely get a good amount of money for him—and it will be the most he has contributed to the club in a career full of inconsistency, lack of interest, and general laziness. Most Newcastle fans will probably look forward to watching him rot on the bench of some mid-table Premier League side.