Originally published in Give Me Sport – 13 April, 2016
Newcastle United are not yet relegated, but the Championship sits firmly on the horizon for the Magpies with local rivals Sunderland also flirting with the drop.
On paper, manager Rafael Benitez possesses a team brimming with talent, yet results haven’t gone their way and they now face the prospect of relegation for the second time in the last decade.
With that in mind, how many of their players could survive the drop with a summer transfer?
The Netherlands international has been sorely missed at St James’ Park since getting injured in October and could easily find himself at a top club next season.
Newcastle’s shot-stopper has often been his club’s saviour over the past few seasons and whilst Rob Elliot has done well in his absence, it’s hard to imagine they would be where they are if Krul was available.
The 28-year-old is an experienced and talented goalkeeper with excellent reflexes and a strong character to match. A move to one of the Premier League’s mid-table sides could be in the offing.
Summer signing Wijnaldum is another player who could complete a move away from the Championship-bound Toon this summer.
The midfielder perfectly showcased his talent back in October during a 6-2 trouncing of Norwich City at St James’ Park, scoring four goals when the future looked somewhat bright on Tyneside. How times have changed.
Any potential suitors might be put off by Newcastle’s valuation of Wijnaldum given he signed only last year, yet his ability suggests he could be worth the risk.
The Magpies will want to keep hold of him, of course, suggesting a loan deal back to a Premier League side could be on the cards, much like how Queens Park Rangers granted Adel Taarabt, Julio Cesar and Esteban Granero loan moves elsewhere when they were relegated in 2013.
The 22-year-old Spaniard has adapted quickly to the Premier League since signing in 2014 and become a popular figure amongst Newcastle fans.
In a team often accused of lacking fighting spirit, Perez has given his all amidst recent times of adversity, scoring six goals this season and securing a vital 90th-minute winner against Tottenham in December.
The forward has plenty of time left in his career to realise his potential, and perhaps the best way for him to do so would be at a stable club in the Premier League.
Despite a poor season, striker Papiss Cisse could earn a move away if he can rekindle the form that saw him score 13 goals in 14 Premier League appearance during his debut campaign.
The very same can be said for Moussa Sissoko who, on his day, could be a useful asset for any Premier League side.
As for Ivorian Cheick Tiote, the midfield powerhouse’s combative approach in the centre of the park could be exactly what’s needed for a number of mid-table sides, or even those promoted from the Championship.