Rafa Benitez did extremely well last season to deliver a top half finish on a shoe-string budget, the Spaniard has a big task ahead of him to deliver another top half finish.
Jamaal Lascelles was a rock for the Magpies at the back last season, and Jonjo Shelvey had a great season in the middle of the park. Newcastle’s success was built on defensive solidity and organisation. From the state the club was in when he took over, Benitez has given the club a grounding and organisation that was badly needed.
Magpies fans will perhaps be a little disappointed that Rafa Benitez has not been backed with more money in the transfer market. This seems to have been a common theme at Newcastle United in recent seasons.
There has been some smart additions into the club however. Chelsea midfielder Kenedy re-joins on a season-long loan deal, Martin Dubravka has signed on a permanent contract after his successful loan spell, and Fabian Schar and Japanese striker Yoshinori Muto have also joined for small transfer fees in comparison to the money being spent by most Premier League clubs.
A couple more good additions, and Newcastle should have no worries of the drop next season.
With that in mind, here is the dream August for the Magpies…
New central midfielder signs for Newcastle
With Shelvey in such fantastic form, a perfect midfield partner to give him a more free role might really benefit the magpies. A defensive minded and athletic midfielder in a midfield two alongside Jonjo Shelvey could be the key to get Newcastle better results.
An ambitious answer could be Steven Nzonzi, currently at Sevilla. The Frenchman has experience in the Premier League with Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City.
A player who would break up play, and has a good technical ability. The midfielder is valued at £30m by Transfermarkt, so it would require some serious ambition from the club.
Four points from opening three fixtures
It’s a tough opening three fixtures for the Magpies.
They start at home to a very strong Tottenham side, this will be a real test for the Magpies. They then travel to newly-promoted Cardiff City before welcoming Chelsea to St James Park.
All of these clubs have a point to prove and will be hard to take points off. Coming out of these opening fixtures with four points would be a solid base for Rafa Benitez to build on. Any more, and the Magpies are in dreamland.