It's not exactly clear where Newcastle United are at the moment.
Journalists such as George Caulkin have noted how Steve Bruce's side tends to lurch from one result to another while the Toon boss himself has lamented their inability to string a consistent run together.
In theory, 2021 should offer a clearer picture for the club. A number of players - many of whom you can firmly label as 'deadwood' are out of contract, which opens up space on the wage bill, should Mike Ashley be willing to spend.
Of course that's a big 'if' when considering the Sports Direct mogul's time in charge of the club but with wages being shifted, there is the chance to strengthen.
Still, one of the players who sees his contract expire in the summer is thought to be in talks over a potential extension. According to the Chronicle, discussions are ongoing between the club and Jacob Murphy's camp in regards to keeping him on Tyneside.
Bruce revealed after the 7-0 EFL Cup trouncing of Morecambe in September that the player - who was previously somewhat of an outcast - wouldn't be leaving on loan and he's since been deployed as a right-wing back, even scoring against Wolves.
Having spent time out on loan with West Brom and Sheffield Wednesday, the £12m Rafa Benitez signing didn't look as if he'd ever be able to impose himself on first-team proceedings. However, a lack of options at right-back does appeared to have offered him a chance.
Neither Javi Manquillo or Emil Krafth have been able to convince they're worthy of a starting berth there on a consistent enough basis and, while it's still early days in Murphy's career in that position, he has offered an interesting alternative.
While Newcastle would surely like to strengthen at right-back (Denzel Dumfries has been linked) having someone capable of covering stick around could be a relatively cheap way of ensuring the squad is stronger next season.
With that in mind, a new deal for Murphy may not be as crazy an idea at it previously was.
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