Newcastle United – 3.

Howay the Lads !

Squad Surgery


Normally I would go through each position; looking at all players; from the best currently at our disposal to the young upcoming talent at the club.

However, this time I’ll be looking at the players who will be key to how we intend to play and the main tactic I’ll be looking to deploy throughout the save.

This in turn ties in with the reality that there’s little or no point in signing players who don’t fit the system(s) that we intend to play.

There’s no point in signing a lightweight poacher for example – when we need a lone striker to press and harry defenders; being able to fight and hold their own up-top.

We’ve inherited a small handful of players who’ll initially make-up the core of our side but, the key roles and positions mentioned above will perhaps be filled by players who we’ll most likely look to upgrade over the coming transfer windows.

Core: Current Squad

  • Martin Dúbravka
  • Jamaal Lascelles (c)
  • Jonjo Shelvey
  • Matt Ritchie
  • Ayoze Pérez
  • Yoshinori Muto


That just about sums it up.

Despite guiding the club to the English top flight and cementing their position for the current season – Rafa Benítez hasn’t left the club in the best position, albeit the Spaniard was somewhat hamstrung throughout his tenure.

What he did do though, was make the team solid defensively; hard to beat.


Ball Playing Defender

I intend to mainly utilize a ball playing defender alongside a more robust; physical centre-back.

We currently have Swiss International, Fabian Schär on our books, so he’ll most likely get the nod alongside club captain Jamaal Lascelles.

The goalkeeper will be encouraged to distribute the ball to our full-backs, therefore, I assign great importance upon that ball playing defender.

Whoever manages to make the role their own will be key in being a comfortable passing option to receive the ball from our full-backs if we perhaps need to recycle the ball.

We’ll look to add quality in the January transfer window if the right deal becomes available, but in the meantime we’ve been alerted to the availability of ex- AS Monaco and Girondins de Bordeaux captain, Jérémy Toulalan who was on a free transfer following his departure from Bordeaux following the sacking of manager Gus Poyet.

Toulalan is a player of real quality and class. A holding midfielder for the majority of his career but equally adept at playing at a ball playing defender.

Yes – his physical attributes have declined over the last few years, however, he still possesses the intelligence and technical ability to fulfil the desired role at Newcastle United – for this season at least.

Fabian SchärSchar attributes.png

Jérémy ToulalanToulalan attributes.png

Both players should be of sufficient quality to contribute as required this season.

An important position  with a top player needed to meet our Premier League demands.

I intend to spend substantial amounts cash to strengthen this area of the side in the coming years.

I very much like the look of José Luis Palomino who plays for Atalanta.


Wing-backs/ Full-backs

One of the most glaringly obvious weak points of the squad is in the full-back positions.

With only Paul Dummett, DeAndre Yedlin and Javier Manquillo available to select from; it’s imperative we address this issue, and fast.

Dummett is vice-captain and a local lad, so he will more than likely remain at the club.

Manquillo and Yedlin are surplus to requirements and will be free to find new clubs when replacements arrive.

I need players able to meet the demands of a high-octane pressing system.

  •         Work Rate
  •         Stamina
  •         Anticipation
  •         Positioning
  •         Teamwork

The above attributes are prerequisites for the wing-back positions in my Newcastle United side. 

I need these players to press high but also know when to quickly drop back into a low block to combat opposition counter attacks.

We had to move quickly in order to get the players in and familiarize them with our style of play.

Luke AylingAyling attributes.png

Having already endured a grueling four week pre-season training camp with previous club Leeds United, under legendary Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa (El loco).


Luke Ayling is absolutely perfect, and will be key in how we look to excel ourselves down the right side of the pitch. He will be the first to meet anything that breaks in higher areas of the pitch.

Gōtoku SakaiSakai.png

I’ve always found Japanese players to be immaculate in how they look after themselves. They are normally well disciplined, quick, hard working players – so if I can bring in more Japanese players who meet the identity we’re looking for at Newcastle United, we will certainly do so.

That is actually an excerpt from later in this blog.

Sakai personality.png

It’s something that I really wanted to do in the save and, as you can see, we’ve done exactly that. The Japanese left-back joins from Hamburg in Germany’s Zweite Bundesliga.

I was a big fan of the Japanese national side at FIFA World Cup 2018.

Having watched various Samurai Blue teams and their players over the years – it’s pretty clear to see that almost all of them are slight in build agile, quick, clever players with tremendous work ethic.

Their pulsating performance against Colombia at World Cup 2018 being case in point.


With all this in mind; I’ve decided that Japanese players will be perfect for the high-tempo gegenpressing tactic that we’ll be deploying on Tyneside.

Rising sun.png

Wingers/ Wide Midfielders

I’ll be deploying an asymmetric system and, key components of such setup will include an attacking midfielder/inside forward on one side and a more industrious player on the opposite side of the pitch.

Matt Ritchie will mainly be used as a wide midfielder on the right side with Kenedy in a more advanced position on the left.

Again, the squad is lacking in wide areas and the threadbare squad is plain for all to see.

Sadly, we don’t currently have the funds available to strengthen every position in the side, so we’ll need to work with what we have available for the moment.

Matt RitchieRitchie attributes.png

Matt Ritchie will be an important piece of the jigsaw.

Equally able on either flank and capable of fulfilling his defensive duties, whilst mastering dead ball situations and spot-kicks.

The ex- Bournemouth midfielder suits our asymmetric system perfectly.


Kenedy attributes.png

Brazilian attacker, Kennedy is a player I rate highly, so I’m pleased to have him here on loan from Chelsea for the season.

He’ll mostly play on the opposite side to Matt Ritchie in a more advanced wide position.

I expect him to be a creative inspiration and hopeful he can contribute with some goals too.

Ademola LookmanLookman attributes.png

Just off the back of a quite superb season with RB Leipzig in the Germany.

Lookman comes highly rated, and having spent a year in a league which is in many ways similar to our own – I’m thrilled to bring him in for the season.

I’m hoping he can provide some extra firepower coming in from the left flank.

You’ll note that two of these players are loan players.

Highlighting a key area in which we’ll be looking to improve in the coming transfer windows.


Yoshinori MutoMuto attributes.png

Following a fallout with burly Serbian striker Alexandr Mitrovic, which ended with Mitrovic being sold to Premier League rivals Fulham – we’ve been left massively light in attacking options.

Mitrovic would have been perfect in the ‘pressing forward’ role that we’ll be deploying in our high pressing system but, hey-ho.

Instead we’ve been left with Joselu, Rondon and Muto.

Muto fits exactly how we want to play and, the Japanese striker possesses all the qualities I look for in a lone pressing forward player.

I’ve always found Japanese players to be immaculate in how they look after themselves. They are normally well disciplined, quick, hard working players – so if I can bring in more Japanese players who meet the identity we’re looking for at Newcastle United, we will certainly do so.

Muto personality.png

Joselu and Rondon will be departing Tyneside at the first opportunity.

Muto will be assigned the duty of leading the line until we can bring in a striker capable of wearing the famous number nine jersey – worn by the likes of Alan Shearer, Andy Cole.

Prior to kicking off the save, I had always earmarked Alfredo Morelos at Rangers as the man I want to lead the line for Newcastle United.

The young Colombian forward has the player ID that specifically fits what we require in the high pressing system we’ll be using going forward into the next decade and beyond.

I intend to do everything in my power to make this transfer a reality.

Major squad surgery is undoubtedly required in the coming transfer windows, although, I am confident in the players we’ve been able to bring to the club this summer.


I hope you’re all continuing to enjoy your individual saves on FM19.

For now – I’m going to enjoy my first season with Newcastle United and continue to develop my own style of playing Football Manager 2019.

I’ll be back with part four in the weeks ahead but, again, I don’t want to be rushing through my save. I like to take time and enjoy the finer wee aspects of what is a truly beautiful game.

The idea is to focus on; 5 Things that have interested me from the season, for a twist on the crucial end of season review.

Oh aye…

Alfredo MorelosMorelos attributes.png

Record transfer.png


“Alfredo Morelos,
Alfredo Morelos,
Alfredo Morelos,
Alfredo Morelos…”



6 Replies to “Newcastle United – 3.

  1. 25 million for a player with 4 concentration!! I could never do that. Does that not worry you?

    1. Hi Lee. Not at all, mate. Just to let you know… He scored a hat-trick on his debut. 4-1 win against Manchester City.

    1. Hey mate – two wing-backs were the first thing on my list. I brought in Sakai for the left side.

      Rondon went back to West Brom and Joselu out on loan for the season.

      We’ll take a closer look at the squad over the coming weeks in blog 4.


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