Newcastle's best XI: Shelvey, Gayle battling for places after transfer window

Jonjo Shelvey of Newcastle United looks on during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur at St. James Park on August 13, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne,...

Although Newcastle United made just six signings in the summer transfer window, the club look to have improved their starting XI in a number of positions.

Joselu of Newcastle United scores his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and West Ham United at St. James Park on August 26, 2017 in Newcastle upon...

The transfer window did not end as Newcastle United fans would have hoped, with Joselu - bought in the first week of the season - proving to be their final signing.

However, between the Spaniard's arrival and the end of August, Newcastle did win comfortably against West Ham United, showing that the team can still pick up points at the top level.

With a week until the next round of Premier League fixtures, Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez now has an opportunity to assess what his best line-up might be...

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez is seen during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and West Ham United at St. James Park on August 26, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne,...

Rob Elliot currently possesses the number 1 shirt at St James' Park and, despite a poor start to the season and Freddie Woodman's immense promise, it looks as though it will stay that way for the timebeing.

In front of Elliot, in the back four, Benitez will look to bring back DeAndre Yedlin, Florian Lejeune and Paul Dummett when they return from injury in three fairly straightforward swaps.

The midfield is a rather more intriguing proposition, though. Jonjo Shelvey is probably Newcastle's best player, but Mikel Merino and Isaac Hayden could well keep their places for now after impressing against West Ham, while Matt Ritchie and Christian Atsu are currently obvious picks out wide.

Up front, meanwhile, Joselu looks to have dislodged Dwight Gayle up front, which spells good news for Ayoze Perez. The former Tenerife man has often failed to strike an effective partnership with Gayle.

Karl Darlow, captain Jamaal Lascelles, Shelvey and Gayle were all key men last term and could force their way back into the side, but Benitez's summer business has seemingly damaged their immediate prospects of first team football.

And the strength of those in reserve at least hints at a deeper squad than many of Newcastle's detractors may claim.

Here's how Newcastle might line-up:

Newcastle United XI

 

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