Vurnon Anita was Newcastle United’s only signing in summer 2012 after the team had just finished fifth in the Premier League.
The expectation from fans was that the club would surely try and build on that breakthrough season, so seeing only the one signing was a little bewildering.
Coming from the Ajax school of football and carrying a near £7m transfer fee, supporters were optimistic Anita would add quality.
Five years on, an out of contract Vurnon Anita signed for Leeds United (see below).
In those five years at St James Park the argument raged: was the Dutchman a clever quality technical player who could star in various positions, or somebody who was too slow, too weak, too small, to be good enough for the Premier League.
Everybody seemed to agree that Vurnon seemed to be a canny lad but was he a canny player?
Well, to me the argument has now been settled
At the age of 28, in his prime, not one Premier League manager – including Rafa Benitez, thought Vurnon Anita was good enough for the Premier League.
Whilst he was at Newcastle, I admit I was amongst the non-believers, though I think I held the view of the majority.
Some local journalists carried a torch for Anita and bigged him up but I thought he was disastrous 90%+ of the time when he played in midfield.
Then playing at right-back he hasn’t done too bad but usually looked in trouble if having a clever/quick winger up against him, whether it was Premier League or Championship.
The local journalists would back up the case for Anita, talking of Premier League clubs interested, but easy to claim that when there is no proof either way.
Well push came to shove when Newcastle and Rafa Benitez didn’t even think the Dutchman was worth another contract and the other 19 Premier League clubs agreed he wasn’t top tier standard.
The Championship is about Anita’s level and he should do a decent job for Leeds United.
I don’t celebrate the fact that he has proved not good enough but Vurnon Anita is a typical example of yet another really poor Mike Ashley/Graham Carr ‘bargain’ signing, where fans hoped for the best once he signed despite knowing deep down he wasn’t good enough.
Leeds United Official Statement:
‘Leeds swoop for former Magpie.
Leeds United are delighted to confirm that Dutch International ace Vurnon Anita has secured a three year contract with the Whites from Premier League side Newcastle United.
The defensive midfielder becomes the club’s sixth signing of the summer after securing deals with Felix Wiedwald, Mateusz Klich, Hadi Sacko, Pontus Jansson and Madger Gomes.
After spending seven seasons at Ajax he was snapped up by Newcastle in the summer of 2012 and the versatile 28-year-old made 27 Sky Bet Championship appearances last season helping the Magpies secure promotion back to the top flight.
Anita could feature for the Whites for the first time in Saturday’s pre-season friendly with Guiseley at Nethermoor Park.’
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