Newcastle United begin the preseason fixture list on Friday when they travel to face Hearts in Scotland. The Scottish side were mid-table finishers last season, ending up in sixth place.
They are managed by former Newcastle assistant coach Ian Cathro, a 30-year-old manager on the rise in football. Here are some things to look for from the Magpies:
Can Gayle nail down his place?
The striker position has always been one of intrigue on Tyneside, and that won’t be any different now given that Newcastle have been linked with all sorts of new strikers.
This makes this preseason Dwight Gayle’s most important, as he will have to prove both his fitness and his ability all over again as he looks to actually become a go-to Prem striker for the first time after never getting the chance to be that at Crystal Palace.
How will the wingers play?
With all sorts of rumors relating to new wingers coming in, there are sure to be some wingers feeling the heat. This should lead to either a sink or swim reaction from them.
Will they grab the chance, or will they signal to Rafa that they are not the answer and that reinforcements are necessary?
How will Florian Lejeune fare?
The French center back has recently moved over from Eibar in La Liga, a side that were quite good for their budget, and he is poised to make his debut for the Magpies here.
It would be crucial for him to get time in with his new teammates, and even if that’s just 45 minutes, it could prove valuable. Newcastle fans will be hoping to see calm, composed play in both possession and in defensive situations from their new man.