COMMENT By Matt Farr
Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez will be mulling over the futures of some of his senior players in the coming months, as the club continues their pursuit for promotion.
With the Magpies currently top of the Championship table, a return to Premier League football next season remains a strong possibility, and Benitez is likely to make wholesale changes to the current setup at Newcastle.
Incomings will be expected as part of the overhaul, but several current faces are also set to make way.
Here, Football Insider analyses the three most likely big-name players to leave St James’ Park in the next transfer window.
The 30-year-old forward is out of contract at the end of the season, and the current lack of negotiations suggest the player is likely to be headed for the exit door this summer.
Gouffran has made a decent contribution to the club’s promotion bid this term, scoring seven goals and supplying five assists, but he has struggled to perform in the Premier League.
He failed to find the back of the net when Newcastle were relegated from the top flight last season, and Benitez is likely to see his resources better spent elsewhere rather than in extending Gouffran’s stay at the club.
Mitrovic, 22, has slipped down the pecking order in recent weeks following the return of Dwight Gayle to full fitness.
The Serbia international has had more of an intermittent role in the first-team squad this season, but when presented with an opportunity to make the lead goalscoring role his own, he has failed to take it.
With Benitez possible to pursue a proven Premier League goalscorer if they get promoted ahead of next season, Mitrovic may be sacrificed.
He has struggled with consistency since his £13million move to the club in 2015, and Newcastle could be prepared to cut their losses on him this summer.
Benitez already has three first team goalkeepers at his disposal, and that does not include Krul.
The Netherlands stopper is currently out on loan at AZ Alkmaar for the remainder of the season, but will struggle to win his place back in the side should he seek a long term stay at St. James’ Park.
Benitez brought in Matz Sels in the summer as a replacement for the outward bound Krul, but he has now also fallen behind Karl Darlow and Rob Elliot in the race for the No.1 jersey.
Darlow is the current preferred choice for the Newcastle chief, but despite his previous Premier League experience, Krul may not be a part of their potential exploits in the top flight next term.
In other Newcastle transfer news, the club should sign one of these three proven PL midfielders if they are promoted to the top flight.