The Championship campaign is over, and Newcastle United have finished top of the pile. Thanks to a late Jack Grealish equaliser against Brighton, The Toon left the division as the Champions, but their focus will solely be on staying in the Premier League and not falling back down at the first time of asking.
With an agreement in place from owner Mike Ashley, manager Rafa Benitez will have money at his disposal for the forthcoming season. The question remains where does he need to strengthen?
One of the key areas where Newcastle United feel like they are lacking serious strength and depth is at the heart of the defence; centre back.
Even though they only conceded 40 goals all season in the league (the joint lowest total in the league) there is still a feeling that they are susceptible at the back.
Despite the fact they have Republic of Ireland international Ciaran Clark in defence, you get the impression that he lacks a reliable partner to keep the likes of Sanchez, Hazard and Kane at bay next season.
A player with Premier League experience would be ideal for the North East side and with Hull City already relegated, a move for a player of Harry Maguire’s ilk would suffice.
Also in defence, a move for a new left back could be in order. Despite Paul Dummett being consistent this season, he was part of the side who were relegated last term.
He has improved dramatically, but there is that fear that he has not developed enough to keep Newcastle in the Premier League. Even if Benitez keeps him as his first choice, signing a new left-back will only keep the Wales international on his toes.
Newcastle United currently have eight forward players on their books (including players out on loan). This is a significant amount of strikers.
With the manager favouring top goal scorer Dwight Gayle as his main man, there is expected to be several changes in personnel in the striking department.
Again, Premier League experience will be vital, and they do possess it with Dwight Gayle, Aleksander Mitrovic, Ayoze Perez and Daryl Murphy having played in the top flight.
But Newcastle still need to buy a seasoned striker capable of notching double figures.
Benitez could be tempted to go with the “tall man small man” strike force that he used with Liverpool’s Peter Crouch and Craig Bellamy in the 2006-07 season.
That could open the door to an outrageous return for Andy Carroll who has been linked with a move recently; however, the last time he struck double figures was in the Premier League with Newcastle in the 2010-11 season (where he only played till January before he moved to Liverpool). It would be a risk, though considering his injury problems, but Carroll could bolster their attack significantly.
Finally, the area that could be improved is the number one spot. They currently have five registered goalkeepers in their first team squad but Karl Darlow is the man who featured frequently in goal.
However, none of the goalkeepers fills the side with confidence. With Darlow still inexperienced in the top flight, Tim Krul and Rob Elliot suffering major injuries which they may struggle to recover from, Matz Sels failing to impress and Freddie Woodman only 20 years old, a new goalkeeper could be high on Benitez’s wish list.
Newcastle United will more than likely recruit several players as they look to stay in the division and avoid falling back into the Championship, but they have to invest wisely and if they sign players in the positions mentioned they will be stepping in the right direction for success.