The 11 key contract decisions facing Newcastle United before the end of the season

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Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe is faced with making a big decision on the future of three members of his first-team squad over the coming weeks.

A lot of the recent focus has been on the Magpies attempts to add to their ranks during the January transfer window but attention now turns towards their bid to remain in the Premier League.

There is still plenty going on behind the scenes at St James Park and decisions are awaited over the future of 11 - including under-23s - players with contracts set to expire at the end of the season.

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Defensive duo await news on new deals

Given the Magpies protracted pursuit of Sven Botman and Diego Carlos in January, it is a safe assessment to suggest the defensive ranks at St James Park will go through something of a transformation this summer.

After a man of the match performance at Elland Road, Schar showed why he is an important part of the Newcastle United defence. He is particularly good with the ball at his feet and gives Newcastle a good option in bringing the ball out of defence.After a man of the match performance at Elland Road, Schar showed why he is an important part of the Newcastle United defence. He is particularly good with the ball at his feet and gives Newcastle a good option in bringing the ball out of defence.
After a man of the match performance at Elland Road, Schar showed why he is an important part of the Newcastle United defence. He is particularly good with the ball at his feet and gives Newcastle a good option in bringing the ball out of defence.

Two current United defenders are in the final six months of their deals with Paul Dummett and Fabian Schar now able to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with clubs outside of England.

There was speculation Dummett was set to leave the club last summer before he was handed a new one-year deal by former manager Steve Bruce.

A long-term calf injury has limited Dummett to just two appearances so far this season - but his recent return to Eddie Howe’s starting lineup has brought with it some much-needed experience and balance in defence.

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His ability to feature on the left-hand side of a back three or as a left-back could be of use to Howe throughout the rest of the season - but whether Dummett remains at St James Park beyond that time remains to be seen.

Swiss centre-back Schar also finds himself in the closing months of the deal he saw extended by the Magpies last summer.

The 30-year-old has started ten of the 13 games overseen by Howe after impressing the former Bournemouth boss with his calmness on the ball and ability to start counter-attacks.

French club Bordeaux were linked with a move for Schar during the January transfer window and could negotiate a summer deal for the defender as news is awaited on his future on Tyneside.

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Homegrown midfielder decision looms as interested clubs eye move

Sean Longstaff is the third current first-team player to be in the final six months of his deal at St James Park and he has been the subject of interest from the Premier League and beyond since breaking into the Magpies senior setup four years ago.

While Newcastle are battling against Premier League relegation, Longstaff is also fighting for his own future on Tyneside with his contract up in the summer (as it stands).While Newcastle are battling against Premier League relegation, Longstaff is also fighting for his own future on Tyneside with his contract up in the summer (as it stands).
While Newcastle are battling against Premier League relegation, Longstaff is also fighting for his own future on Tyneside with his contract up in the summer (as it stands).

German trio RB Leipzig, Schalke 04 and Hertha Berlin are all understood to have considered a move for Longstaff in the past and there was tentative interest from Ligue 1 club Bordeaux two years ago.

The 24-year-old was the subject of an unsuccessful transfer bid from Everton during the January transfer window - although Rafa Benitez’s departure from Goodison Park seems to have ended any chance of a summer move to Merseyside.

Longstaff’s current situation at Newcastle can be viewed from both sides.

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From the midfielder’s point of view, he is now waiting to see whether he will be handed a chance to secure a regular place in Eddie Howe’s starting lineup and his longer-term plans.

The United boss was impressed with Longstaff’s performance as a substitute in the recent 1-0 win at Leeds but has only given the midfielder three starts since his appointment in November.

Speaking of the midfielder’s future last month, Howe said: “I’m aware of course, Sean is a very good player and he will have an opportunity to showcase his talent.

“He can show to me and the club he has a long-term future here.

“It’s in his hands as well not just our hands.

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“He is a young player and he’s had a long association and history with the club. I recognise that.

“I recognise the journey he has been on through various aspects of the football club.”

Longstaff is now approaching a critical part of his career and no option appears to be off the table as he approaches the final months of his deal.

Youngsters await their fate

A number of Magpies youngsters will also see their current deals expire this summer.

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Like the other youth-team players on this list, Stephenson has enjoyed a strong season so far. The versatile midfielder who can play in attack has scored nine goals in the Premier League 2 Division Two. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)Like the other youth-team players on this list, Stephenson has enjoyed a strong season so far. The versatile midfielder who can play in attack has scored nine goals in the Premier League 2 Division Two. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Like the other youth-team players on this list, Stephenson has enjoyed a strong season so far. The versatile midfielder who can play in attack has scored nine goals in the Premier League 2 Division Two. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Lewis Cass is back on Tyneside after suffering a serious ankle injury that cut short his impressive loan spell at League Two club Port Vale.

The North Shields-born defender was the subject of interest from a number of EFL clubs looking to secure a permanent deal last month.

But it was the Valiants that were at the front of the queue and it is understood talk of a permanent move to Vale Park was gathering momentum before Cass suffered the injury in training.

What remains to be seen is whether the Magpies will follow the route they took with Lewis McNall and offer Cass a short-term deal to allow him to undergo his recovery and rehabilitation with his boyhood club.

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Midfielder Jack Young secured a loan move away from Tyneside on deadline after joining League One club Wycombe Wanderers until the end of the season.

The 21-year-old has been a mainstay of the United second string over the last three years - but now has an opportunity to shine and secure a permanent move.

Striker Dylan Stephenson has been one of the success stories of the club’s Under-23s side so far this season.

He has plundered his way to 12 goals in 18 appearances in all competitions and is believed to be in talks over a new deal.

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It is said to be “highly likely” a contract will be signed in the coming weeks and it could lead to a loan move away from Newcastle during the summer transfer window.

A number of League Two, National League and Scottish Championship clubs are keeping an eye on Stephenson’s development.

Decisions are also awaited on the futures of defensive trio Brad Cross, Charlie Wiggett and Ryan Barrett and midfield duo Mo Sangare and Reagan Thomson.

More decisions to come this summer

A number of first-team players will head into the final 12 months of their current deals this summer.

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Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe and midfielder Jonjo Shelvey.Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe and midfielder Jonjo Shelvey.
Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe and midfielder Jonjo Shelvey. | Getty Images

Should Premier League survival be secured between now and then, it seems the close season will bring the next step in the evolution of Eddie Howe’s squad and a number of long-standing members of the current squad.

In a strange quirk that shows the stagnation under the club’s former owner, six players signed by three different managers will have their fate decided by a fourth different boss.

Jonjo Shelvey is the longest serving player of the sextet after being brought to the club by Steve McClaren in January 2016 with Rafa Benitez additions Matt Ritchie, Ciaran Clark and Federico Fernandez also approaching the final year of their deals.

Steve Bruce signings Emil Krafth and Mark Gillespie round off the list of senior players that could be vulnerable to a sale this summer as the Magpies look to take the next step in the regeneration of their squad.

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