Newcastle United
Newcastle will be hoping to erase the memories that marred the end of last season Getty

Last season

Premier League: 15th

FA Cup: Third round

League Cup: Fifth round

Top scorer: Papiss Cisse (11)

Summer's work

After near-farcical scenes where John Carver was finishing his nightmare spell in charge while supporters stayed away from St James' Park as part of a planned boycott, the end of last season couldn't come quick enough for Newcastle last term. Steve McClaren is the new man in charge now and was also handed a spot on the club's board of directors upon his appointment, a Premier League first for a manager.

The last time the club showed anything close to resembling ambition in the transfer marker was January 2013, but the Magpies have taken steps to address that in the signings of Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum for a reported £14.5m and Serbia international Aleksandar Mitrovic. Congolese defender Chancel Mbemba has also joined the club.

Manager - Steve McClaren

Nine years on from his last spell as a Premier League manager at Middlesbrough, McClaren is back with the unenviable task of restoring some pride to a club whose reputation took another battering last term. The former England boss has been handed the target of securing a top-eight finish for the Magpies and made his own promise to end the club's 46-year wait for a trophy.

McClaren's strengths lie in coaching and motivation: two elements that were so lacking at times last season as Newcastle aimlessly lurched close to the abyss again. The stability his style of management brings will be crucial with the threat of drama never far away from the club.

Steve McClaren
McClaren's last spell in the Premier League ended in 2006 with Middlesbrough Getty

Key player - Georginio Wijnaldum

With Remy Cabella enduring a rather tame start to life in English football, Wijnaldum will be looked upon to provide some invention in the final third. While just 24, the Netherlands international comes with a wealth of experience and will be looked upon to handle the transition to the Premier League at a quicker rate than fellow new arrival Mitrovic.

Eight seasons at PSV Eindhoven culminated in Eredivisie success as captain last season – a campaign where he also netted 14 goals. Often devoid of inspiration, Wijnaldum could be the man to provide in this term.

Georginio Wijnaldum
Wijnaldum could prove to be an inspired piece of business Getty


Managing director Lee Charnley may have handed down to McClaren a target of a top-eight finish but unless Newcastle continue to address a squad that has been so neglected in recent years, that will be a struggle. A patchwork backline that finished with the second worst defensive record last season needs urgent attention still and that could prove to be the biggest hindrance to management's lofty expectations. After last season's narrow escape, a season of stability would be a good place to start for the club.

IBT prediction - 13th

There is a lot of work to be done at St James' Park but a more than competent coach at the helm and two good signings already should ensure they avoid another perilous relegation scrap.