How Newcastle's Strongest XI Could Look by the Start of Next Season

Steve Bruce
Crystal Palace v Newcastle United - Premier League | Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

Newcastle's typical transfer window in recent years has been peppered with the arrival of promising talents, countered by the loss of key personnel and inevitably accompanied by a tight grip on the purse-strings. That is until Mike Ashley splashed £40m on Joelinton - which hasn't exactly worked out so far.

However, as the widely publicised takeover crawls ever closer to completion, the proverbial shackles have been cast aside as an almighty war-chest is supposedly readied.

Yet even if Newcastle's potential owners do complete the transaction, they - along with every other business - will feel the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak. So, no matter how many replica shirts get printed, it's highly unlikely Gareth Bale will be their new number 11.

So, let's take a look at the realistic lineup which could form Newcastle's strongest starting XI for next season, whenever that may be.

GK - Martin Dubravka

Martin Dubravka
No Premier League goalkeeper has made more saves than Martin Dubravka this season | Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Since his Newcastle debut - a staggering display in a 1-0 win against Manchester United - Dubravka has been nothing short of outstanding for the Magpies. He certainly doesn't lack for shot-stopping practice but the Slovakia international's ability between the sticks has been one of the key reasons behind Newcastle's avoidance of a relegation battle this season.

RB - Valentino Lazaro

Valentino Lazaro
Lazaro joined Inter in the summer of 2019 for £20m but appears to have already been deemed surplus to requirements | Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

After four starts in a disappointing half-season with Antonio Conte's Inter, Lazaro has shown flashes of the talent patently evident during his days charging up and down Hertha Berlin's right flank since arriving on loan in January.

CB - Jamaal Lascelles

Jamaal Lascelles
Lascelles was made captain of Newcastle when he was just 22-years-old, leading them to promotion at the first time of asking in 2017 | James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Newcastle's captain is a pivotal figure in their backline, marshalling a defence which needs to be tight given an absence of ruthlessness at the other end of the pitch. At just 26 years of age, Lascelles could find himself leading the Toon Army for many years to come - if they can hold onto him.

CB - Nathan Aké

Nathan Aké
The left-footed Aké would offer balance to Newcastle's backline as well as some much-needed pace | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Bournemouth's talented Aké has attracted attention from a number of clubs, with his former employers Chelsea maintaining a £40m buy-back option. Yet there have been no firm advances lodged from west London and if Bournemouth succumb to relegation, the Dutchman could be snapped up for a relatively modest fee.

LB - Danny Rose

Danny Rose
Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

The Tottenham-loanee may be vehemently against a return to football this season, but next campaign could mark a return to form for the 29-year-old. Earlier this season, Rose was starting in England internationals and the Champions League group stage - Newcastle would have an amazing talent on their books if they can coax this level of performance out of him.

CM - Sean Longstaff

Sean Longstaff
Marc Atkins/Getty Images

The younger, red-haired Matty Longstaff may have scooped the headlines with two glorious strikes against Manchester United, but the senior Sean is a steady, consistent performer in Newcastle's midfield, keeping possession ticking over.

CM - Boubakary Soumaré

Boubakary Soumare
Boubakary Soumaré is a high-profile transfer target for many clubs but the Frenchman has never done a single press conference or media interview | David Aliaga/MB Media/Getty Images

The highly sought-after Frenchman has already turned down Newcastle's advances earlier this season but the club are refusing to let this particular talent slip through their fingers.

Soumaré - technically gifted, physically imposing and only 21 - would be an excellent addition to Newcastle's midfield, adding some industry and energy to proceedings. The only question is whether they can snap him up from Lille first.

CAM - Miguel Almirón

Miguel Almiron
Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

No player has played more minutes under Steve Bruce than Miguel Almirón this season. And there are few players who look like they're trying harder than the Paraguayan.

For much of his first campaign, effort rather than output was all Almirón could point towards, as he registered his first goal contribution since joining in January 2019, 11 months after he signed. But, at the suspension of play, Almirón was Newcastle's top scorer with six goals in all competitions.

RW - Pedro

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Chelsea's Pedro has struggled with injury this campaign, making only nine Premier League appearances before the enforced hiatus. However, the trophy-laden Spaniard's contract expires in June and Newcastle have been linked as a potential destination for the World Cup winner.

Pedro may turn 33 before next season begins but his last outing in a Chelsea shirt against Everton - a goal and assist in a 4-0 win - shows he still has something to offer at this level.

ST - Odsonne Edouard

Odsonne Edouard
Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Celtic's 22-year-old Frenchman has been terrorising Scottish defences since swapping Paris for Glasgow in 2018 with 33 goals and assists in 27 league outings this season.

While that is not necessarily a sure-fire barometer for transferable success, Edouard also has three goals and two assists in six Europa League outings and would offer a promising alternative to the misfiring Joelinton.

LW - Allan Saint-Maximin

Allan Saint-Maximin
Only three Premier League players have completed more successful dribbles than Allan Saint-Maximin this season | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Opposition defenders and, at times, Maximin himself, may have no clue what he's going to do next but Newcastle fans will be united in their desire to keep the mercurial Frenchman on Tyneside.

Newcastle's most fined player is, arguably, their finest. Maximin is one of the few on the Magpies' roster who possesses the spark which can unlock a defence or find the bottom corner, and next season is just a matter of producing that end-product at a more consistent rate. Which, of course, is easier said than done.