Former Bournemouth jewels Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser arrived on Tyneside earlier in September.
In turn, they injected some quiet confidence into the long-suffering Geordie faithful, especially with Wilson expressing a desire to follow in the footsteps of previous Newcastle number nine strikers – especially Alan Shearer.
How likely are Newcastle to be relegated?
To their credit, the powers at Newcastle have spent responsibly to date in this transfer window. In doing so, they have avoided a shortening of their relegation odds across online Sports Betting outright markets – they’ve remained around the 21/20 mark. So too have they avoided going for broke in a manner similar to the January window of 2016.
That period saw an infamous spending spree, with £80m spent on players that lacked the fighting spirit needed to survive. In turn, the splurge could not prevent relegation for the second time under Mike Ashley, and a subsequent exodus:
Poor starts in recent seasons have certainly not helped, with the Magpies going into the 2020/21 campaign having lost five of their previous seven opening games without scoring. Last season, not for the first time, that loss of early momentum lead to a season riddled with drought in the final third, as Newcastle finish ended affairs as the Premier League’s fourth-lowest scorers.
Furthermore, they failed to score in over a third of their league contests, and took just one point (of a possible 33) from 11 games in which they trailed at half-time.
Can Wilson fulfil his duties?
Wilson is – albeit on ageing evidence – widely considered to be just as famous for being injury prone as he is for poaching vital goals. Whatever the validity of that belief, he still has a long way to go before he can be uttered in the same sentence as Shearer, the Premier League’s all-time top scorer.
At 28, Wilson is now at the very peak of his game, but 2019/20 represented a sharp downturn for a man who began the 2019/20 season with real hopes of becoming a mainstay in the England XVIII. He made five more appearances in 2019/20 compared to the season before, but saw his league goal tally halve from 14 to 7.
His potential to combine with Ryan Fraser is, of course, self-evident, with the duo performing brilliantly for Bournemouth in 2018/19:
In a testament to his former trajectory, Fraser lined up alongside the likes of Virgil Van Dijk and Kevin De Bruyne as a PFA Player of the Year nominee in 2019. The Scotsman’s tally of 14 assists was second only to Chelsea superstar Eden Hazard. However, his passes per match also dived into sub-30 territory last term, while he dropped from 28 ‘Big Chances’ created in 2018/19 to a meagre five.
Could Newcastle have done better?
Despite doing some positive business, Newcastle are – on average – still considered the fifth-likeliest team to drop in the 2020/21 Premier League season.
The addition of Jamal Lewis at right-back, from relegated Norwich, is seen as a shrewd move that reflects Steve Bruce’s desire to right a club still reeling from yet another failed takeover.
Ultimately, their signings to date may not be perfect. Nonetheless, they reflect a desire to reinforce in a constructive way, and Newcastle know that the foundations must be strong before the bigger names arrive.