After being linked with a number of left-backs in recent days, surprise news on Monday afternoon that Newcastle were looking to bring back Jose Enrique.
Arrriving at Newcastle in summer 2007, the Spaniard was one of Sam Allardyce’s first signings and after a slow start to his United career he became a firm favourite with the fans and arguably the best left-back (against admittedly poor competition) at St James Park in recent years.
His partnership with Jonas Gutierrez was a little unorthodox compared to the usual full-back/winger combination, as Jonas did a more than fair share of defending and often it was the Argentine winger feeding Enrique’s surging runs up the pitch.
Not handling his Newcastle exit particularly well with certain comments to the press, Jose Enrique joined Liverpool to find fame and fortune at Anfield, as Newcastle recouped the £6m they paid Villarreal.
After a couple of years of reasonable form as first choice for Liverpool, injuries and loss of form have meant only eight Premier League starts in the last two and a half years.
Since his departure, the main memory for Newcastle fans will be the April Fools game at St James Park in 2012, two Papiss Cisse goals giving United a 2-0 win and the late red card for keeper Reina leading to Jose Enrique taking over in goal, with all three subs already used.
Enrique’s five year contract is finally at an end in June and after discussions between Liverpool and Newcastle today, the reports from Merseyside said that Liverpool were keen to let him leave and come to an arrangement with the player for the wages owed.
With a move seeming to be going through, both the BBC and Sky Sports have now reported that talks came to a halt because of the wage demands and length of contract.
It would be safe to assume Newcastle were only offering a deal until the end of the season for the 30 year old, whilst they were never likely to get near his current £65,000 a week wages.
So yet another Premier League player left to sit out his contract, with Newcastle also having more than their fair share of them as well. With seemingly little chance of offloading the likes of Gouffran, Riviere, Marveaux and Oberetan until their contracts run out.
As for what the attempt to sign Jose Enrique tells you about the current state of play with Newcastle’s left-back situation is another matter.
Undoubtedly the club’s current weakest position on the pitch, it is open to question whether the 2016 vintage Jose Enrique is much/any better than the likes of Paul Dummett and certainly I think many fans would love to see Kevin Mbabu get another chance when fit, rather than a short-term deal for Enrique.
However, one signing did go through today with Seydou Doumbia arriving on loan until the end of the season.
Whilst Ayoze Perez agreed a new deal that contracts him to the club until June 2021.