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GOING, GOING, GONE (Sale now on!)

Can the last one out please switch the lights off!

Defeat against Southampton today would see Newcastle at least 6 points from safety with only 6 games left and a certainty for relegation.

We take a look at what relegation is likely to mean for NUFC’s current manager and playing staff.

Last week saw the release of the clubs annual financial report, and with £48.3m in the bank you might think this puts us in a decent position to keep our highest earners, ride out a season in the Championship, and come back fighting.

A commitment by the Board to keep key players, and the strength to fight off the vultures and agents that will descend on the club in June would also give us some chance of persuading Rafa to stay.

This, on every front, looks very very unlikely however.

Since the accounts were finalised (for the period up to end June of last year) the club has spent big on transfer fees and managerial changes. A sum close to £90m is probably not unrealistic given NET transfer dealings in this period of £79.3m.

Even with further income it is possible that the club has actually had to borrow cash to fund some of this activity, even if only up to the end of the season payouts.

To be in such a position therefore means Newcastle United will likely HAVE to sell players to cover it’s cost next season, both to reduce the wage bill of it's highest earners and pay those who remain. The parachute payment alone is just not going to cover it.

Here is our assessment of some of our key performers and big names and the likelIhood of them still being at the club if (or when) we do go down:

Rafa Benitez

Surely Rafa will go!

He said he wanted a ‘project’. But when you understand the cash bonus he has been promised to keep Newcastle in the Premier League it is not hard to understand why he’s given us a go this season. A Champions League winning manager and one with a worldwide reputation just wouldn’t seem to fit in the Championship.

Having said that, we know he wants to settle back in the UK. His wife stayed in Liverpool even when he moved to Madrid and he is genuinely keen on an English project.

A great deal may depend on what else becomes available. That, and he’d want a significant say on who stays and who goes.

Our recent Board mentality would suggest this would not be something they’d be prepared to hand over to even Rafa and that may well be that!

Likelihood of him staying = 1 out of 5 (5 being very likely to stay)

Tim Krul

After a season of injury, and the fact that he may walk straight back into the side given Elliot will still be out at the beginning of next season you’d like to think he’d stay loyal to the club. His wages won’t be anything like most of the big name outfield players and any manager would want to build around an experienced International keeper rather than rely on young Darlow.

Likelihood of him staying = 4/5


After an injury hit season the Argentinian will probably be judged ‘past it’ when looking at next years playing squad. He will also command some decent wages as club captain and given his length of service. In all likelihood we can see him being released on a free back to Argentina to save on wages alone and to get him off the books.

Likelihood of him staying = 0/5


Stay up or go down we think this one will be gone. He’s certainly not given up at NUFC but something tells us he feels he’s served his time here no matter what happens. In any case, maybe it is time to try a full back who’s first love is defending.

Likelihood of him staying = 0/5


Probably the bright spark of what has been a simply awful defence all season. At 21 the lad can only get better and with a solid experienced leader next to him to learn from he could be a real star of the future.

He and his agent will of course know this, as will the many scouts that have watched him play this season in a struggling team. Given his age and potential he is one of the clubs most sellable assets and for that reason alone we can’t see him staying even if he wants to.

Likelihood of him staying = 1/5


Again, this one looks gone no matter what. The predictable visa issues aside, don’t be surprised if the lad get’s his delayed move to China in the summer, only now at a cut price £2m-£3m.

Likelihood of him staying = 0/5

Jonjo Shelvey

This one will be interesting and we think it may well come down to the player himself.

Don’t be surprised if this is one of the few players that Newcastle genuinely try and persuade to stay and to build a team around. We think the lure of the Premier League, his desire and hurt at missing out on the Euro England squad and the ego that has reared itself at times in other clubs will be enough for him to force his way out. We hope not!

Likelihood of him staying = 2/5


Don’t let the door hit your arse on the way our son-shine!

Likelihood of him staying = 0/5

Andros Townsend

Another one who may well watch the European Championships and feel he can’t suffer a year out of the spotlight of the top league and why would he.

Yes, he’s a little of a luxury player but the lad is undoubtedly Premier League standard. We expect this one to be sacrificed too although we do think this maybe one that ends up in a season long rather than a sale. That may well suit all parties with a view to either bringing him back into the fold in 17/18 season or selling next summer if we don’t make it back.

Likelihood of him staying = 1/5


There would seem no way that a player of this talent will expose himself to a season of tier two football. This one will be courted from both England and abroad and expect the NUFC hierarchy to play hardball over his transfer fee.

Which ever way we look at it, he’s be gone.

Likelihood of him staying = 0/5


The young Spaniard should attract plenty of interest from far and wide.

Our only real hope of him staying is that he feels some kind of misguided loyalty to NUFC and commits to bringing us back up. The lad seems happy in all his media briefings and has consistently committed himself to the cause. If he has any sense he’ll move on but we wouldn’t be surprised if he says he’ll give it a year (or not).

Likelihood of him staying = 2.5/5


What a shame!

Settled, new baby, playing at the club his hero played for, a fighter. We feel this is the one we will regret the most.

Again, some kind of falling in love with the club gives us an outside chance of keeping him but more likely the vultures will come and prize this one away. One we feel sure we will watch grow into a monster of striker playing somewhere in Europe’s elite for many years to come.

Likelihood of him staying 1/5

Of those we’ve not detailed we do think there will be some hope of keeping de Jong and Colback. We say ‘hope’ but some certainly wouldn’t be using that word.

We can also look forward to seeing our very own Adam Armstrong next season. One bright spark that should at least give those of us blind or deluded enough to still attend St James Park and those long away days next season something to cheer.

What might our team look like next season?

Here is a view of what our starting XI may look like next season based on what may be left of our current squad.

Not great eh! Not good enough to get us back either we'd suggest.

Agree? If not why not try our squad predictor and share your thoughts with us by hitting the ‘Tweet’ button, downloading and sharing this with us online or tell us in the comments section below.

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