Newcastle’s managerial fiasco shows no sign of ending, and until it does, there is little prospect of any incoming signings for fans to get excited about.
With under two weeks of his contract remaining, it remains to be seen whether Rafa Benitez will be in the dugout for the Arsenal game on the opening weekend of the new season.
But whoever is in charge has some serious work to do when strengthening the squad, and with less than eight weeks until the season kicks-off, there will be very little time to do it in.
Apart from centre-back and goalkeeper, you could argue that every position needs to be addressed. But two key areas stand out above the others.
With Joselu set to leave and Salomon Rondon having returned to West Brom, Dwight Gayle is our only senior striking option, and even he is likely to be sold before August.
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With targets coming and going between clubs around Europe, Newcastle are in danger of being left miles behind in their recrutiment plans.
It is this position, above all others, that will have fans worried. Even if a resurrected swap deal for Rondon is on the cards again, they will still need at least one more forward to arrive in the coming weeks.
The other main concern is in midfield.
Isaac Hayden is desperate to leave, and Mo Diame has already been released. If neither player is back, that leaves us two down on last season already.
Add to that the Jonjo Shelvey situation – with a Rafa stay meaning it will be far less likely that we see him in a black and white shirt again – and Sean Longstaff’s long-term injury meaning he may not be fully fit for the opening few games, and we have as few numbers in the middle as we do in attack.
Having been credited with watching world class players like van de Beek recently, those sorts of deals will only be realistic if the takeover goes through, or Mike Ashley has a sudden change of heart on budget restraints.
Time is running out to get deals done before the season starts
Finding suitable personnel with the limited spending power any manager will have, will be no easy feat. It will take time, and that is something Newcastle are quickly running out of.
With right-back being another key area in need of improvement, as well as cover at left-back, and on both wings also required, it is hard to see where Rafa, or anyone, will find the time to complete all the deals necessary to make us competitive.
Given the length of time it takes Lee Charnley to complete even the simplest sounding transfer, it is already starting to look like a forlorn effort, which will see us substantially short of where we need to be to avoid yet another relegation scrap.
The only way to get things on track, is to sort the managerial position out one way or the other this week, and move forward – whether that is with Plan A, or Plan B.
Dilly-dallying is helping no one except our rivals, and we simply cannot afford to be playing catch up again.