By Danny Wright
Newcastle sealed their return to the Premier League with a routine 4-1 win against Preston at St. James Park on Monday night.
Here, Football Insider analyses three things learned from the game:
28-year-old must be sold
Vurnon Anita has been terrible for Newcastle this season and his performance against Preston proves that he should be sold in the summer. Rafa Benitez has now led his side back to the Premier League and there’s no way that the three-times Netherlands international should be staying in the squad. DeAndre Yedlin and Jesus Gamez are much better options at right-back than Anita, who is traditionally a defensive midfielder. Preston aren’t a terrible side but the 28-year-old failed to cope with wingers that pale in comparison to what he will face next season – should he stay.
Sign him up
Benitez should do his upmost to try and sign Christian Atsu on a permanent deal in the summer. Newcastle showed that they’re strongest on the wings against Preston and Atsu, along with Matt Ritchie, tore the visiting defence apart. The 25-year-old is currently on loan from Chelsea and, according to Transfermarkt, he will be available on a free transfer in the summer as his contract at Stamford Bridge is set to expire. However ESPN report that there is also an option-to-buy clause in his deal at Newcastle. Either way, Benitez must sign him.
Premier League will not be easy
The top-flight has changed since Newcastle went down and the relegation places seem to be much more fiercely competed. The north-east club will have to make some big signings to assure their Premier League status because there are some glaring weaknesses in the current squad. Dwight Gayle is the top goal scorer at St. James’ Park and he showed in his time at Crystal Palace that he isn’t reliable enough to be starting up front every week. Their defence looks decent, especially if they can find a solid right-back, but the attack definitely needs improvement with two injury-prone strikers and a goal-shy one.
In other Newcastle news, the club are in a race to sign this Premier League attacker.