With another Premier League season beginning, a new set of players enter the final year of their contracts at Newcastle United.
That means a fresh batch of squad members go under the microscope, with many looking to scrutinise those players the minute they make one little mistake or go through a bad patch of form.
Those players don’t seem to be the problem though, however, there are seven players potentially setting Newcastle up for their biggest reported overhaul in years.
The Chronicle reported on Saturday that the contracts of Federico Fernandez, Ki, Andy Carroll, Karl Darlow, Rob Elliot, Jamie Sterry and Javier Manquillo all expire in 2020, and as a result, the Magpies must be strict with these seven players.
Newcastle must be strict with their decisions and play hardball with these seven players specifically, with the likelihood being that they must be ready to bin each and every one of them.
The need to release some players is critical in the North East, with the Chronicle also reporting that unwanted players at the club are draining funds – and surely a mass exodus would make the problem go away.
Karl Darlow, Rob Elliott, and Jamie Sterry should be almost guaranteed to be set to leave St James’ Park this time next year – with all three set for limited in no playing time at all this season.
Javier Manquillo could be for a rocky season too, with Newcastle having two separate right-backs in DeAndre Yedlin and Emil Krafth at the club already.
The Spaniard featured against Arsenal but was instantly dropped for Krafth for the game against Norwich as Bruce looked to introduce his summer signing into the side.
Signing Carroll was always going to be a risk for Newcastle, and one that could backfire. If the forward doesn’t produce in terms of goal involvements this season then they can easily get rid of the former West Ham man this time next year.
If any of the seven players do impress enough to warrant sticking around, then the Magpies still have to play hardball when it comes to negotiating a new deal with them.
Newcastle have to be strict in their valuations of their squad with the need to drain their wage bill getting bigger each year, and these seven players could be set to hand them a lifeline, as letting them go for free in the summer could make the issue go away.