Newcastle may have recorded their best points finish since 2013/14 last season but the Magpies are in turmoil ahead of the new campaign.

Mike Ashley’s inability to agree a new contract with Rafael Benítez led to the Spaniard leaving St James’ Park and Steve Bruce taking his place.

Talks of a takeover have once again resurfaced, but as quickly as they arrived they disappeared again.

Add to that the key departures of Ayoze Pérez and Salomón Rondón and Newcastle’s prospects for the season look bleak. That is mirrored in our markets with the Magpies sixth favourites to go down at 11/4.

Firepower needed

Seeing Rondón return to West Brom and Pérez join Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester has left Newcastle seriously short in attack.

Dwight Gayle has also been linked with a move away from the club, and should that materialise Bruce would only have Yoshinori Muto as a strike option.

Unsurprisingly that has seen Newcastle linked with a number of attacking players, although signing Steve Mounié and Andy Carroll (5/1) is unlikely to inspire too much confidence.

Mounié only scored twice for Huddersfield last season, while Carroll failed to find the back of the net in 12 appearances as he once again struggled with injuries.

A seemingly better goal threat could be Hoffenheim forward Joelinton – who scored 12 times in his first full season in the Bundesliga.

The 22-year-old was a reported target in January and Newcastle appear keen to resurrect a deal, with a £36m placed on the Brazilian’s head.

Reinforcements required

Newcastle’s 3-0 defeat to Wolves in the Premier League Asia Trophy only added to the concerns for Bruce. Clearly he has defensive issues to deal with as well.

Jamaal Lascelles, Florian Lejeune, Ciaran Clark and Fabian Schar are strong options centrally but on either flank there appears to be a lack of depth behind Paul Dummett and Javier Manquillo.

Bruce will also be keen fend off interest from Manchester United for Sean Longstaff.

The 21-year-old midfielder has emerged as a surprise target for Ole Gunnar Solskjær during the close season, even though he only made 10 appearances for the Magpies last term.