Summer signings have already played a key part in Newcastle’s season.
Below is my take on who’s made the biggest impact.
1. Florian Lejeune
While he may not have featured much yet, he’s already brought a certain calmness to the defence. Like he showed in pre-season and the minutes he played against Spurs, he is brilliant at long balls from the back (key for beating high-pressing teams like Liverpool) and isn’t shaky when he’s got control of the ball. When he’s fully fit, he’s going to bring a pleasant headache due to the good form of Lascelles and Clark.
2. Christian Atsu
Regardless of whether he can be classed as a “new” signing, Atsu has improved ten-fold to last season. Last season his final ball was a bit hit and miss, but recently it looks to have improved a lot more. He showed this on the first game of the season against Spurs when he burned down the left side and was our best player by a mile.
3. Mikel Merino
Last, but certainly not least, is the golden boy Mikel Merino. The Spaniard arrived from Borussia Dortmund on loan with an obligation to buy for £6 million (providing he plays 20 matches). Merino certainly hit the ground running. He made a good impact against Spurs, had a great game against West Ham and put in a good performance against Swansea. He’s already got himself into the heart’s of Newcastle fans alike and he can only improve him.
Here I decided to put Joselu in. Despite having a bad game against Stoke he’s a player that was bought to fit the system, not a round peg shoved into a square hole. He never stops running which is why he fits better than Gayle and plays off everyone else, despite his iffy finishing.
Feature image credit: Ben Sutherland