At one point, this summer looked like it might be a promising one for supporters of Newcastle United.
There were strong rumours doing the rounds that the Tyneside club were set for a takeover, with UAE billionaire Sheikh Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nehayan said to have practically completed a deal to buy out Mike Ashley.
This would change the entire approach for the club going forward. No longer would they barely spend any money and instead they could begin signing players with the intention of looking up the Premier League table rather than over their shoulders. The excitement was there for all to see and Newcastle were even added to the bookmakers market to sign France star Kylian Mbappe from PSG as everyone got a little carried away.
That was in May however, and since then lots has changed at St James' Park. The takeover as of yet hasn't happened, manager Rafael Benitez decided to finally call time on his spell in charge whilst key player Ayoze Perez has also left to join rivals Leicester City.
The feeling around the club is much different now, with negativity setting in amongst the clubs fan base. They were left outraged that Ashley allowed a world class manager such as Benitez leave, with almost all accepting that the Spaniard was the main reason why they have avoided the drop in the last two seasons. He worked on a shoestring budget but managed to get enough from his players to guide them to back-to-back mid-table finishes.
To make matters worse, as well as losing 12-goal striker Perez they are also set to miss out on signing Salomon Rondon who is now odds-on to join West Ham. The Venezuelan managed 11 league strikes whilst on loan last season, but without him and Perez it removes 23 of the 42 goals the Magpies scored last season and severely weakens them as they are left with Joselu and Yoshinori Muto who managed just three goals between them last term.
As a result of the recent ongoings at the North East club, bookmakers have began to shorten the odds on them to suffer relegation from the Premier League this season. At the beginning of the summer William Hill were offering odds as long as 7/1 for the Toon to be relegated from the top flight, however following the departures of Benitez and Perez those odds have now dropped as short as 11/4.
Those odds could change again, depending on the calibre of manager they hire to replace Benitez. Whilst they are almost guaranteed not to be able to bring in someone quite as good, they have been linked with the likes of Roberto Martinez and Sean Dyche who are still capable of doing a strong job.
But with other clubs around them currently strengthening their squads, including the three promoted clubs, Newcastle are running the risk of getting left behind. They need to get a manager in as soon as possible and begin shaping their squad for the upcoming season, or a battle to avoid relegation surely beckons.
Full Premier League relegation odds:
(All odds taken from William Hill)
- Sheffield United - 8/13
- Norwich City - 10/11
- Burnley - 2/1
- Brighton - 2/1
- Aston Villa - 2/1
- NEWCASTLE - 11/4
- Southampton - 5/1
- Bournemouth - 5/1
- Crystal Palace - 11/2
- Watford - 6/1