Newcastle United’s squad is already weaker than at the end of last season, according to former defender Steve Howey.
The Magpies finished last season in a rich vein of form, winning three of their final four Premier League fixtures to finish 17 points clear of the relegation zone.
However, since the curtain came down on last term, Steve Bruce has lost the services of talisman Joe Willock.
Is Newcastle's squad weaker than it was last season?
The 21-year-old’s loan spell, which ended with him becoming the first Newcastle star to score in seven consecutive Premier League games since Alan Shearer, came to a close as the campaign ended.
Bruce has publicly confirmed he would like to welcome Willock back to the club on a permanent basis, but reports suggest the north-east club is now in talks with Arsenal about arranging a season-long loan.
Newcastle are yet to add reinforcements to their squad and Howey has called for fresh faces to head to St James’ Park in order to avoid a relegation dogfight.
Speaking exclusively to TIF, Howey said: “The squad definitely needs strengthening because at this moment, for me, the squad is weaker than it was at the end of the season.
“At the end of the season they had Joe Willock. Will he rejoin? I’m not too sure. We’ll just have to wait and see.
“What comes into it as well is the budget because I don’t think the manager has a great deal to spend, unfortunately.”