Newcastle’s solid run in the opening half of the season saw the club poised to challenge for a spot in Europe, just four points off the top four at the campaign’s midway point.
But the January sale of Yohan Cabaye to PSG derailed the Magpies, who lost 13 of their final 19 games and limped to a 10-place finish in the Premier League standings.
The club hierarchy has already confirmed that boss Alan Pardew will keep his job despite the collapse, the focus now turning to a summer of rebuilding.
Even as Newcastle look to strengthen in the coming months, however, the club’s fragility has attracted the attention of other clubs looking to bolster their own ranks.
Left-back Davide Santon has long been linked with a return to his native Italy, where he is still highly regarded after leaving Inter for St James’ Park.
But according to transfer expert Gianluca Di Marzio, Newcastle are not keen to part ways with the 23-year-old - and have accordingly slapped a significant price-tag on him.
“Newcastle has decided on a price-tag for clubs interested in him: the English club is asking for £10million,” Di Marzio’s report reads.
“No less than that, considering they don’t want to sell him.”
The Magpies’ position seems quite clear in this case - the priority is to hold onto Santon, but if the right offer comes along, they may be willing to relent.
It would be difficult for Roma to justify splashing out £10million for a full-back even with a Champions League cash windfall on the way, so Newcastle’s plan could well succeed.
Still, the Giallorossi are likely to at least test the Tynesiders' resolve by looking to lessen Santon’s price if their interest is genuine. And Newcastle’s response may be an indicator of how hard the club will fight to keep their players that are wanted by rivals around the continent.