Newcastle had the worst defence in the Premier League at the turn of the year (42 goals conceded), so Eddie Howe addressed the problem in the transfer market, signing Kieran Trippier from Atletico Madrid, Dan Burn from Brighton & Hove Albion, Bruno Guimaraes from Olympique Lyonnais and Matt Targett on loan from Aston Villa.

The new arrivals had an instant impact as only four Premier League clubs conceded fewer goals than Newcastle from January onwards (20 goals conceded). The Magpies enjoyed 12 wins from 19 games in 2022 to comfortably stave off relegation.

And with Newcastle being shrewd in the market this summer too, signing Nick Pope from Burnley and Sven Botman from LOSC Lille, Paddy Kenny was full of praise for the recruitment team. He told Football Insider: “They have done some brilliant business since January.

“I like Burn, you have Botman coming in as well. Trippier and Pope, for me, there are some great signings there. We touched on it before January, they had to tighten that defence up. They had the worst defensive record in the league.

“They had to sort it out and for me, they have done that. For me, they are going to be solid next season. It’s been great business and the owners deserve credit for that.” Newcastle finished 11th in the Premier League this campaign and will push for a top-six finish next season, so they’ll need a backline that can stand up to most sides.

Howe finally has competition for places in defence that should get the best from the players, so Newcastle should be able to improve upon the 2021/22 campaign.

In other news, Gabriel Agbonlahor says Allan Saint-Maximin ‘blows hot and cold’