When new contracts are handed out by football clubs, it is usually a sign of big strides being made and something to put a spring in the step of the supporters, getting your best players to commit to a long-term deal.
Not apparently at Newcastle United.
I would be more than happy to wake up one morning and see that Ayoze Perez, Daryl Janmaat and Rolando Aarons had all agreed new deals.
Instead, the last three new contracts which United supporters have found out about, are Rob Elliot, Fabricio Coloccini and Sammy Ameobi.
All three seeing their contracts winding down and I would be very certain in suggesting that there would have been very few, if any, Newcastle fans voting for a new longer term contract for any of the three.
In August we were amazed to find out that Coloccini had been handed an extra year AND kept as Captain, despite being average to really poor over the last three seasons.
Then we had Sammy Ameobi, somebody who has shown all but nothing in his time at Newcastle, he gets a new deal when everybody was already thinking at last we’d finally shifted him out of the club. The only positive is that at the moment he is warming Cardiff’s bench and doing nothing there, instead of on Tyneside.
Finally, the match programme for he Norwich game revealed that Rob Elliot had secretly been given a new long-term deal last season. This being despite Tim Krul and Karl Darlow at the club, as well as Freddie Woodman coming through, not forgetting of course the small detail that Elliot has been usually woeful when given his chance.
You can pretty much count on at least a couple of goals going in when we are left with him in nets, with 35 goals conceded in his 17 Premier League matches backing up that belief.
I understand you can’t change all of your team/squad overnight and you have to have some continuity but I fail to see how it is any kind of progress when two players who are hopeless are given new contracts, plus a fading star who has become a liability as a defender and captain is persevered with and given an extended contract.
It makes me question just what kind of long-term plan (if any) there is at the club, what purpose does it serve having these three taking up valuabke squad/team places?
A deal for life for Mike Williamson?
Steven Taylor pops out of the sickbay to sign a new 10 year contract?
Gabriel Obertan says he hoped for another eight years but is happy to settle for seven?
It is great that Newcastle have added Mitrovic, Wijnaldum and Mbemba this summer but the club have to also show them and others that they are moving forward in other ways.
Tying up the best young/key players long-term and clearing out those not good enough is something that is a big priority, without that Newcastle will continue to struggle.
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