What Price Safety?
Here we are about a month after my previous contribution to this site. In that month we have lost our top scorer and seen a dismal run of form including being knocked out of the cup, which I had pinpointed as being a potential goal, add this to the latest loss against Reading and it starts to severely test the patience of us fans.
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In my last article I defended Pardew and stated that to give him the boot at this stage of the season would achieve nowt. Admittedly my support of Pardew has wavered slightly due to the aforementioned miserable displays and some dubious team and tactical decisions, in the case of the FA cup debacle possibly a misguided attempt by Pardew to prove a point to MA about the lack of depth in the squad.
However, I stand by my original point that I feel Pardew has enough credit in the bank to be allowed a chance to try and turn things around, it would be madness to bin a manager now unless we already have a (and here’s the important bit) TOP CLASS replacement ready to step immediately into place. However, referring to my first article I don’t think there are any top managers out there who would be interested in the job, or that we could afford.
The current popular alternatives to Pardew seem to be Martinez, Poyet, Clark & Clarke. All decent up and coming managers but nowhere near the TOP CLASS category that I would want to bring in as a season saver, nor to be honest do I see them being particularly better than Pardew.
Add the double cost issue i.e. compensation to Pardew and to the club whose manager we are trying to pilfer IF those clubs even allowed us to speak to said managers. I reckon that pretty much kills any of those options from the off.
After a very quiet few weeks regarding incoming players, other than Debuchy, and lots of speculation about whether Colo was going to be next out the door, it was very encouraging to see things spark into life in the past few days.
I’d like to think it was a combination of Pardew hectoring MA & DL and them seeing the bigger picture, realising that they needed to ensure we keep premiership status, but ever the pessimist I still can’t help worrying that we might still see a couple of players out through the exit on Jan 31st. Hopefully the lesson has been learnt from the Carroll episode but I’m not counting on it. To me now is the time to really make a statement of intent and heavily reinforce the squad, giving the team a massive boost for the latter part of the season.
The signings of Debuchy, Mbiwa & Haidara are very welcome and should add strength and depth to our flimsy looking defence but not if they are just arriving to let others depart. We are still desperately lacking firepower up front though, as I’m writing this there is the potential that Gouffran is on his way, I’ll be honest – I don’t know much about the bloke and can’t recall if he particularly stood out against us in the Europa tie and while his record seems canny with 71 goals from about 260 appearances, it’s not set the world alight great.
In fairness though our scouts know a lot more than me and have done a cracking job so far, hopefully that streak of unearthing diamonds continues and we should try our damndest to bring them in by being slightly more flexible on the wage front without straying into silly territory.
One that us fans and the papers have mentioned and to me is as good a shout as any is Danny Graham, yet there has been absolutely no mention of him from the club at all, I can only hope that it is all being done very quietly and that we are about to p*** on the mackems’ cheesy chips when he gets off the plane at Newcastle airport and doesn’t take the brief journey down the A19.
I can’t help feeling that in addition to the aforementioned players though that we could do with 1 or 2 proven PREMIERSHIP performers; whether banging the goals in up front, or a rock at the back! There are not many players that we could realistically try for that fit those criteria and certainly wouldn’t come cheap.
In a fair few cases it wouldn’t exactly be long term investments given their age. Maybe a short-term loan might work e.g. Thierry Henry, is he past it or could a 2 or 3 month spell while the MLS is out of season, work wonders for us and give time for the likes of Gouffran to acclimatise?
Do we/would we want to take a punt on Darren Bent/Nic Anelka/Yakubu .
Or that would be returning to the ways of Freddie Shepherd with potential to backfire horribly? There are the players coming up to the end of their current contracts and could be picked up at a decent price but probably a pretty high wage; Brede Hangeland, Kolo Toure, Romelo Lukaku are the names that caught my eye but would they be up for a relegation scrap and what would we have to offer them?
Like I said all the way back at the top, what price safety?
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