Eddie Howe and his Newcastle side will have been delighted with a hard-fought win over Brentford at the weekend, coming as it did after three successive Premier League defeats and ahead of their first Champions League match in over two decades against Milan.
A handful of his regular first-team stars have been off the boil for the majority of the 2023/24 English top-flight season, and whilst the manager appears ready to persevere with them, he does have a number of players in reserve that could be utilised.
The issue for Howe is that all of them – eight in total – are within a year of having their contracts up at the club, and there’s surely got to be good enough reasons why he hasn’t called upon the majority of them on a regular basis before now.
According to The Mag, Fabian Schar, Paul Dummett, Mark Gillespie, Loris Karius, Emil Krafth, Jamaal Lascelles, Javier Manquillo and Matt Ritchie will all be free to leave in June 2024 if the Magpies haven’t decided to extend their deals.
Whilst it’s accepted that some of those named won’t be part of Howe’s plans regardless, some could well need to be called upon because of injuries and/or suspensions.
Financial Fair Play could also dictate what happens with the players, as Newcastle and every other club now need to work well within that framework.