It had all looked so promising. Newcastle finished last season impressively, avoiding relegation comfortably, scoring ten goals in their last four matches and going toe-to-toe with Liverpool in their final home game of the season.
There were high hopes that Rafael Benitez would stay and even higher hopes that long-time owner Mike Ashley would leave.
With a takeover of the club seemingly imminent, Newcastle fans were actually looking forward to the following August for once. The days of looking over their shoulders at the bottom three were a thing of the past.
Supporters were dreaming of a side that could look like this
Or perhaps not...
For just as quickly as hope can be given to fans, it can also be taken away. Now halfway through the transfer window, Benitez has packed it in for China, Ayoze Perez
So what comes next?
Well, do not expect the new manager to receive much money. Instead, Newcastle are set to be feeding off scraps again. Here is a potential lineup of free agents that could play for Newcastle next year, as the purse strings remain as tight as ever.
Michel Vorm (Goalkeeper)
Remember when Vorm used to play football? Turns out he still does. Having initially impressed in the Premier League with Swansea, the Dutch shot-stopper made the bizarre decision to move to Tottenham
Indeed, he moved down to third choice behind Paulo Gazzaniga last year, so it was no surprise to see him move on from White Hart Lane over the summer.
He is now 35, but if he still possesses the qualities that he had at Swansea, he could be a decent addition to a struggling squad...y'know if Ashley decides to sell Martin Dubravka for no reason at all.
Danny Simpson (Right Back)
It is easy to forget that Simpson was part of that remarkable Leicester
Of course, Simpson has previously been with Newcastle, and he did a solid job. Could he come in and steady the ship down that right flank once more? Perhaps even lead a second unfancied club to the title? Keep dreaming.
Gary Cahill (Centre Back)
Maurizio Sarri did not fancy the England international. He could not have made that much clearer if he tried. Both have now left the club, and they probably did not exchange pleasantries as they went their separate ways.
Whilst Sarri has headed off to Juventus
Thomas Vermaelen (Centre Back)
Five years on, it is fair to say that they were right to be sceptical. The Belgian defender has continued to struggle with his fitness, failing to make much of an impact in Spain, or indeed when he was on loan at Roma.
Now available on a free, Vermaelen could bring valuable experience to the defence, even if he cannot reach the level of performance he achieved at Arsenal.
Alberto Moreno (Left Back)
Still, he has his medal and no one can take that away from him. What Liverpool could do was release him over the summer. They did just that.
So Moreno is free and available. Step forwards Newcastle
Daniele De Rossi (Central Midfield)
De Rossi did not want to leave Roma this summer, but he was still pushed out the door by his hometown club, and is now looking for a fresh challenge.
The youngest member of Italy's 2006 World Cup winning squad, De Rossi turns 36 in late July, but he still feels he has more to offer.
Newcastle fans are known for their passionate support, and expect the same levels of commitment from their players. De Rossi certainly fits the bill.
Yohan Cabaye (Central Midfield)
Remember that glorious 2011/12 season? Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse scoring at will, Hatem Ben Arfa weaving his magic, and even Fabricio Coloccini looked like he had learnt how to defend. He seemed to forget shortly afterwards.
In the midfield was the elegant Cabaye, calmly asserting his authority. He failed to impress at Paris Saint-Germain, hardly shone at Crystal Palace
Now he is looking for a new club. Will Newcastle be able to tempt him back?
Samir Nasri (Right Wing)
More recently, he has been unable to reproduce the form that he showed at those clubs. He briefly played in Turkey, then served a ban for a doping violation, before joining West Ham
Newcastle have been lacking in creativity in recent years. Nasri might still have to odd moment of magic left in him...maybe?
Danny Welbeck (Left Wing)
However, Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger liked him, so he cannot be that bad.
Daniel Sturridge (Striker)
Liverpool had the dynamic SSS trio back in 2013/14 which took them to within a whisker of the Premier League. So there was Luis Suarez
That's it, Daniel Sturridge. Constant fitness issues have limited the forward since, leading to him being replaced in Jurgen Klopp's side. He even went out on loan to West Brom lin 2017/18. That did not end well.
That move did show that he is willing to drop down the league to get more football under his belt though. Perhaps he could be tempted to Newcastle this summer.
Andy Carroll (Striker)
In January 2011, Liverpool spent £35m to take Carroll from Tyneside to Anfield. Carroll had impressed for a whole five months in the Premier League. It was the obvious move.
Carroll arrived on Merseyside at the same time as Suarez. Their respective career trajectories went on to slightly differ.
Having made very little impact at Liverpool, Carroll went to West Ham, and did even less. However, he is still only 30, and can be a real threat on his day. Literally, one day a year.
If he can stay fit (wishful thinking), he might just be able to turn his career around back where it all started.
Source : 90min