Newcastle United were promoted to the Premier League on Monday night following a 4-1 home win over Preston North End at St James Park.
The Magpies could still win the Championship and are odds of 13/2 to finish as champions. However, rivals Brighton have a four-point lead with just two games of the season remaining.
Spanish boss Rafa Benitez has done an excellent job in steadying the ship in the north east. However, this summer he faces a big challenge in assembling a squad good enough to survive in the top-flight.
Magpies’ squad is not good enough for the top-flight
A number of pundits, the likes of ex-Toon heroes Rob Lee and Alan Shearer have stated that the squad needs strengthening massively this summer.
The Magpies three star players Dwight Gayle, Jonjo Shelvey and Matt Ritchie from this season are players who have only impressed in spells in the top-flight.
The rest of the squad is full of players with either no Premier League experience or questionable history. In fact, a number of the players still in the squad were relegated with the Magpies last season. It is very much a Championship squad and Benitez has shown his managerial skill by getting the team promoted.
Benitez needs to be backed this summer
By Championship standards, Benitez was backed by the club owner Mike Ashley last summer. He brought in the likes of Gayle, Ritchie, Grant Hanley, DeAndre Yedlin and Ciaran Clark for decent money.
In truth, the signings were needed, though, as the Magpies saw a host of players leave last summer. Benitez needed to heavily strengthen just to be competitive in one of Europe’s most competitive leagues.
The Spaniard seems happy at the club. However, there will be questions over his future if Ashley and the rest of the clubs hierarchy do not back the former Liverpool boss in the summer.
Benitez has only seen his reputation improve with the club’s promotion. There could very well be clubs monitoring his situation at the north east club. Any sign of disgruntlement at the lack of backing and I am sure there will be stories about the 57-year-old leaving the club.
Newcastle needs to nail down Benitez. They need to back him to the hilt, as he is the best manager the club has had in a long time. The fans love him and his experience will be needed to guide the Magpies through what could be a difficult return to the Premier League next season.
Now they are back in the Premier League. The club hierarchy needs to do everything they can to make the club a success. I have often said Newcastle has such big potential with the right people making the decisions.
They have a good manager in Benitez, so there is potential for the club to now move forward in the near future. However, they do not want to slip into the same malaise of their last spell in the top-flight.
Main priority to beat the drop next season
The main priority for Newcastle next season will be to stay in the Premier League. Despite the league getting stronger, the Magpies should be able to maintain their status next season in the top-flight.
However, that will only be achieved by the club investing in quality signings this summer. In the past owner Mike Ashley, obviously a shrewd businessman had limited the spending and wanted to run the club as a business.
Unfortunately, most football fans are not shareholders. What they see is what happens on the pitch every weekend. Most fans are not stupid and know that the club cannot be forced into bankruptcy by crazy spending.
However, they also know there has never been a more financially beneficial time to be in the Premier League. With every club in the league able to spend big on wages and fees, Newcastle will have to spend this time around to stay afloat.
For now, I am sure Newcastle fans will be enjoying the promotion party. However, this summer is likely to dictate how next season goes for the Magpies. I hope for the fans sake that the club brings in the necessary quality to stay in the top-flight.
Will Rafa Benitez be backed in the transfer this summer?
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