Alan Pardew
Pardew could find himself under even greater pressure in the new season. (Reuters)

Last season

Premier League: 16th

Europa League: Quarter-Finals

FA Cup: Third Round

League Cup: Third Round

Top Scorer: Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse (13)

Summer work

After last season's calamity, Mike Ashley's inexplicable decision to leave Joe Kinnear in charge of all transfer business has inevitably been met with caution. The upheaval behind the scenes does little to dispel the notion that Newcastle are a club perennially on the brink of implosion, and the decision to leave the matter of recruitment at the feet of a man who has been immersed in the game for just five months of the last nine years is bold to say the least.

While some targets have already slipped through the new system's grasp, the club have secured an excellent striker in Loic Remy who has signed on eight months after rejecting the club for Queens Park Rangers in January.

Manager - Alan Pardew

From a public perspective, Pardew appears to be handling the shift in power at the club with ease, something which cannot have been easy during the early uncertain months of the summer. While the squad still may be thin the manager has shown in the club's previous excursions he is capable of drawing the best out a talented group of individuals, and will be boosted by a having a more settled Moussa Sissoko, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Yoan Gouffran at his disposal.

Rediscovering his touch while maintaining his presence and authority behind the scenes will be perhaps one of the greatest tests of his career.

Key Player - Hatem Ben Arfa

As Newcastle's most talented player, Ben Arfa's penchant for unexpected brilliance will be vital to a healthy season at the club next season. Amongst the club's various troubles last campaign, the absence of the mercurial Frenchman through injury was chief. Scheduled to start the season injury-free and rested, a swift understanding with his compatriot Remy could yield the club's best opportunity to establish themselves in the top half of the table.


Newcastle may aim to find a balance between the soaring heights they reached two years ago and the turgid underachievement of last campaign. While the individuals needed to ensure the club achieve that are present, the volatile nature of the club structure suggests nothing can be taking for granted on Tyneside next season.


A quiet summer on the transfer front and the looming, unpredictable spectre of Kinnear and Ashley suggests the slightest hiccup could derail the Magpies' season. 16<sup>th