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Newcastle

A major hangover after the exit of Rafa Benitez

General preview 2019/20

Rafa hangover

Newcastle United fans go into the new season suffering from a major hangover after the exit of Rafa Benitez.

The Spaniard quit the club because of the lack of ambition and the mood in the city has been compounded by the arrival of unpopular former Sunderland manager Steve Bruce.

Some fans have walked away and vowed never to return until Mike Ashley goes.

The prospects for the season seem to be another battle against relegation - something Bruce knows all about after struggles elsewhere.

Even the arrival of £40million Joelinton has not captured the imagination of fans in the way other big signings have.

Pre-season news

A CHINA DRUBBING - BUT SIGNS OF ENCOURAGEMENT AHEAD OF NEW CAMPAIGN

Wolves 4-0 Newcastle United

Newcastle United 1-0 West Ham

Muto.

Preston 2-1 Newcastle United

Shelvey.

Hibernian 1-3 Newcastle United

Joelinton, S Longstaff, Lascelles.

Newcastle United 2-1 Saint Etienne

Joelinton, M Longstaff.

transfer window

EXTRA QUALITY STILL NEEDED

Newcastle have at least started to spend the money that was burning a hole in Mike Ashley's pocket.

A marquee arrival of Joelinton, an exciting signing in Saint-Maximin and some squad cover in Jetro Willems.

Bruce also balanced the squad with the acquisitions of goalkeeper Jake Turner and midfielder Kyle Scott.

Some may feel the squad is still light on overall quality but Newcastle are probably borderline when it comes to the satisfactory category.

Rating: 7/10

Rating: 7/10

Joelinton

Has arrived for a huge £40million fee from Hoffenheim and fans are relatively pleased with the addition of the Brazilian. But the expectations for Joelinton should be kept realistic. At 22, Newcastle have paid for potential and his seven goal tally in the Bundesliga was hardly prolific suggesting he will require time to settle in and adjust to the Premier League.

Rating: 6/10

Jake Turner

Turner was out of contract but the former Bolton Wanderers player has not arrived as a first team addition. He will play for the development team and offer the club cover for senior goalkeepers. With Freddie Woodman set to run down his contract, United are in need of an understudy to the likes of Karl Darlow and Rob Elliot.

Rating: 6/10

Kyle Scott

Another who has arrived to play for the Under-23s and offer the first team some back-up. The former Chelsea midfielder spent time in Holland last season with Telstar and could get a taste of life in the first team from time to time, probably in the cups.

Rating: 8/10

Allan Saint-Maximin

The winger arrives at St James' Park after the Magpies paid a £16.5million fee from Nice and the signing had excited fans. He's quick, has a trick or two and has an eye for goal. Throw in his versatility, he can play on the left, right and through the middle, Newcastle could have a player on their hands here.

Rating: 7/10

Jetro Willems

The Dutchman's loan from Frankfurt helps bolster the left-hand side of the field for Steve Bruce. The 25-year-old has been on the club's radar for some time and Willems even turned up on the terraces a couple of years ago to check the place out. He slotted into things quite nicely in the 2-1 win over St Etienne and looks like he's ready to go.

Season predictions

Let's hope the club doesn't slip back to old ways

Newcastle will slog it out just above the relegation zone again.

They may even get dragged into the mire again if Steve Bruce fails to get off to a good start.

They open up against Arsenal, Norwich and Spurs and they require at least four points from that trio of fixtures.

Bruce has to win a PR battle first, but he knows he will be judged on nothing but results.

A leading Newcastle fan site NUFC.com commented that Bruce's arrival is nothing but a "McClaren reboot" and he will face a battle to last as long as the former England boss if his immediate influence on the squad wears off quickly.

It is a season in which Rafa Benitez's miracle working could be underlined if the club slip back to old ways.