With Newcastle struggling with no wins in six matches, predictably are looking at the £50m worth of new players and wondering when they will show their value.
However, I think this is looking at the problem the wrong way round.
Where Newcastle have gone wrong isn’t in the signing of the four latest foreign imports (well at least not until they have had time to settle and show what they can or…can’t do), it is the players that they failed to get out of the club in the summer months.
Last week saw a story break that a number of players were causing friction at the club, the most prominent being Moussa Sissoko, Papiss Cisse and Cheick Tiote. In his pre-Watford press conference, Steve McClaren even bizarrely complimented the journalist on his scoop!
The story went that Tiote and Cisse were unhappy that they hadn’t been allowed to make an exit in the summer on their terms, whilst it was also claimed that the coaching staff felt that Moussa (I would love to play for a Champions League club but none of them want me) Sissoko could have played against Macnhester United but chose not to and waved the injury card, so he could save himself for France.
However true that report was, one thing is for sure and that is certainly those three players (and others) have done nothing to make you think that suggestions of lack of commitment and focus are untrue.
If I had the choice and been in Steve McClaren’s (or whoever makes the decisions…) shoes, I would have done everything I could to get the following players out of the club in the summer and invest the transfer fees and saved wages in players who are up to the job:
With that generated/saved cash I would have gone for Yohan Cabaye and Charlie Austin, as well as a central defender to play alongside Mbemba.
I reckon that if there was any shortfall it would have been relatively minimal, whilst at the same time the first choice eleven would have been taken to another level.
Last season (and previously) it became obvious that there were serious problems within St James Park.
A lack of ability was a big part of those problems but an even bigger one is the attitude of some of Newcastle’s supposedly best players.
For me, Fabricio Coloccini is at the top of the list.
It is a total joke that he is still the Captain.
Training throughout the summer and yet not playing a single minute of the seven pre-season friendlies and Steve McClaren saying a number of times he wasn’t sure who his captain would be this season.
Then suddenly, a new contract(!!) for Coloccini who tried to walk out halfway through the relegation fight of 2012/13.
Not only that, but he was announced as continuing as captain.
Steve McClaren embarrassingly proclaimed him to be his ‘signing’ of the summer.
Against Watford he proved once again to be feeble in the air and weak on the ground now.
If we are relying on the likes of Coloccini, Sissoko, Tiote and Cisse to dig us out of trouble this season, then we’d better order 50,000 prayer mats because the writing is on the wall.
(To feature like John, send in your articles for our website to [email protected])