Newcastle To Battle It Out With Spurs, Everton and Liverpool
August looks set to be a difficult month for Newcastle United with tricky Premier League fixtures against Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea to navigate, as well as two Europa League qualifying matches. It will be interesting to see how Newcastle approach these four games as they try to get 2012/13 off to a flying start. Newcastle came away from the same Premier League matches with four points last season but it’s widely expected that Chelsea will improve this year, whilst Tottenham’s destiny is anyone’s guess.
I was surprised to see Harry Redknapp fired as it’s widely recognised that he has done a fantastic job at Tottenham with the budget he’s had to work with. I read a quote last week that Tottenham were disappointed that the £100m they have spent in recent seasons had not yet secured them the Premier League title. If I remember correctly, Tottenham’s January signings were Louis Saha and Ryan Nelsen. This does not exactly scream ‘title contenders’, especially when you consider the sums of money spent by their rivals.
It is my belief that Chelsea will return to the top four next season at Tottenham’s expense, with Spurs, Newcastle, Everton and Liverpool battling it out for fifth place. I expect a much improved Liverpool now that ‘King Kenny’ has gone and I think, in general, the Premier League will be a much tougher competition in general compared to 2011/12. Everton could once again prove the dark horse as, despite their small squad, they do not have the European distraction that I believe helped Newcastle into fifth last year.
Newcastle still have a relatively small squad compared to their rivals and would certainly benefit from bringing in the likes of Debuchy and De Jong whilst hopefully keeping hold of the men they have been rumoured to replace, Simpson and Ba. Alan Pardew has already confirmed that Sammy Ameobi, Haris Vuckic and Shane Ferguson will see more action this season but, whilst these players certainly have ability, bringing in a couple of proven internationals to add to the overall quality of the squad definitely wouldn’t hurt.
Even before a player is sold I think Newcastle need to sign at least one left footed full back, a centre back, a central midfielder and a striker. This would bring the squad numbers up and allow us to cope with the extra matches, whilst still providing the opportunity for the youngsters to be filtered into the first team.
I’m excited to see Newcastle back in Europe as I have missed the Thursday night adventure but I would hate to see our progress in the league suffer as a result. The Europa League is not a money spinner, therefore the additional budget that Pardew would have received had Newcastle secured a third placed finish is not on offer.
Newcastle have to be clever in the transfer market but at the same time it’s clear that the players that have been earmarked to take us up a level are not going to come cheap. If you want to beat Chelsea and Inter Milan to a French international then it’s understandable that £4m just might not do it. I’m hoping that work is being done under the radar as every player we have been linked with lately seems to include Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea etc in the headline. We’re battling with teams that are known for throwing money at their problems and that is always going to be difficult to compete with.
Arguably, our best signings over the last two seasons have been completed under the radar, with the deal being done before the press even had a sniff. So, whilst Debuchy and De Jong would be fantastic signings for the club, I wouldn’t be surprised to see these players go elsewhere whilst Newcastle sneak a couple of cheaper options in through the back door.
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