By Russell Edge
Newcastle have offered new and improved contracts to a number of their young players, according to a report.
The Chronicle claims that seven players have received an offer of a new contract from the club after impressing at U18 and U23 level.
The players that have impressed are Mackenzie Heaney, Lewis McNall, Owen Gallacher, Owen Bailey, Ben Kitchen, Yannick Aziakonou and Nathan Harker.
The news comes after the first team secured promotion back to the top flight at the first time of asking.
The most notable names from the list are those of 18-year-olds Heaney and McNall, who have both made their way into Peter Beardsley’s U23 squad on Tyneside.
Attacking midfielder Heaney has been the subject of an international tug-of-war between Scotland and England, with the youngster moving to play for the Three Lions youth teams after turning out for the Scottish U16s.
Meanwhile striker McNall hit 11 goals in 15 appearances for Newcastle’s U18s last season and has made his way into Beardsley’s development squad this season, where he has also hit the back of the net.
Youngsters are not the only contracts the Magpies need to consider this summer, with the Chronicle reporting that Haris Vuckic and Sammy Ameobi are set to depart St James’ Park when their deals at the club expire.
It promises to be a busy summer for Newcastle fans as Benitez gets on with the task of building a squad that can survive – and hopefully challenge – in the Premier League next season.
Football Insider verdict:
The next few months are absolutely critical for Newcastle. Rafa Benitez has completed the first part of his mission – to return the club to the Premier League at the first time of asking. However, he knows that the hard work is only just beginning. Benitez will be looking to rebuild the squad immediately, but he is also looking to build from the bottom and ensure that Newcastle have a solid base to reestablish themselves as a consistent Premier League force. Signing up these talented youngsters on improved deals sends out a great message to the youth talent at the club, and to hopeful fans everywhere.
In other Newcastle transfer news, the Magpies are firmly in the running to sign this Leeds player.