Newcastle United – Mixed Messages On The Transfer Front
The fans have been given mixed messages regarding incomings this summer, with Pardew saying there is money to spend if the deal is right and new Managing Director Lee Charnley saying Newcastle will not splash the cash and only one or two players will be brought in per year.
Obviously the management of the team has been poor, and who knows what is going on in the boardroom, but as fans we can only comment from the outside looking in.
Defensively we have good numbers but with Coloccini’s future uncertain, a top quality centre back would be a good investment. Debuchy may leave, which would mean a right back would be required.
In terms of the midfield, there are only three midfielders in Sissoko, Anita and Tiote that are worth keeping. Cabaye’s sale has left us lacking in numbers and creativity in that area. I don’t expect any of these three to leave but a couple of top quality midfielders would be a sensible investment.
An issue which I believe may be affecting our recent form is lack of competition. Sissoko, Anita and Tiote are guaranteed to start and when you look at the teams around us like Everton and Southampton they have plenty of players who can come in if one player isn’t performing. Mehdi Abeid has had a good season out on loan and could play a role in the first team next season.
Goals wise this has been a very poor season with only on loan Loic Remy scoring regularly. Shola and Cisse have been firing blanks and Luuk De Jong has done nothing to warrant a permanent contract. Gouffran had chipped in with a few goals in the first half of the season but his form declined. There is little chance of Remy staying beyond this season which leaves us needing at least two strikers who can guarantee goals and those guys aren’t cheap.
The recent statement from Charnley has reiterated that Newcastle only look for young cheap players with sell on value. This is a huge problem as the team has really lacked experience and leadership and those qualities often only come in older players. Buying a couple of players of 29/30 would be huge going into next season to help any younger guys settle into the league. The fact that we are only looking to add one or two players a year is strange considering we already need around six new players to compete next season and that’s before departures.
A major talking point in the past is whether we as fans rate our players too highly and I generally don’t think we do. Sissoko, Dubuchy and Yanga- Mbiwa were all full French internationals when they signed for us, and apart from Debuchy, they have all regressed under Pardew’s coaching due to being played out of position or lack of game time. We haven’t had one settled style or formation with the same team consistently, so players don’t seem to know what their job on the pitch is. When this did happen in November we won four in a row.
Pardew needs to work out his best eleven and how he can change it with the right players if things are not going his way; he rarely has a plan B. If you look at the success of the Merseyside clubs this season their teams have a definite style of play with every player knowing exactly what their job is. Brendan Rodgers and Roberto Martinez are also sound tacticians and are able to tinker with the formation and line up depending on how the match is going.
Pardew often looks lost and uses the same substitutions regardless of the opponent or situation. I for one am sick of the sight of Ameobi coming on for Gouffran. It’s not hard to see why more and more fans are moving towards the ‘Pardew out’ way of thinking.
Assessment of the current squad
Tim Krul- Top shot stopper although his distribution could improve. Has to stay as Newcastle’s No.1.
Rob Elliot- Decent back up keeper.
Fabricio Coloccini (captain) – Coloccini has made no secret of the fact he wants to go back to Argentina and maybe not the best man to lead Newcastle on the pitch. Remains a top class defender.
MapouYanga-Mbiwa- French title winning Captain with Montpellier at 23, could be a top player. In and out of the side and not playing in his preferred position has led to a hit in his confidence. Needs a run in the team.
Mike Williamson – After being made a scapegoat in his early magpies career, Willo has stepped up this season forming partnerships with both Coloccini and Yanga-Mbiwa. No-nonsense defender.
Mathieu Debuchy – Probably Newcastle’s best player this season. Had a difficult time adjusting after his arrival but his true class has shown this time around.
Paul Dummett- Still very inexperienced. Has the ability but could do with a run of games in a settled back four.
Davide Santon- Has played the majority of his United career at left back and one of the best players in a poor 2012/13 season. Weak defensively, his best position could perhaps be further up the field.
Massadio Haïdara- Injuries/assaults have hampered his time on Tyneside so far. Haven’t seen enough of him to make a proper judgement.
Ryan Taylor – He’s scored some spectacular and memorable goals. Horrendous luck with injuries recently but a valuable squad player when he is fit.
Steven Taylor – Undoubtedly has the passion for the cause but often lacks a clear head on the pitch. Injuries haven’t helped him but I can’t see him leaving.
Moussa Sissoko- Burst onto the scene with a memorable double against Chelsea. More than any other player is a victim of Pardew’s positioning of players. Has the qualities of a top PL player.
Vurnon Anita – Skilful player but lacking in the way of goals and assists. He’s never convinced me and appears to be in the team simply as there is no one else following the sale of Yohan Cabaye.
Cheick Tioté (vice-captain)- Could be the next captain if Coloccini does leave as he has flourished in the role when given the armband. Suffered having lost his midfield partner Yohan Cabaye.
Sammy Ameobi- Bad luck with injuries but has shown some decent flashes when given game time. Make or break season coming up.
Papiss Cissé- Could not stop scoring when he arrived but various factors have contributed to his lack of goals since. His attitude is not in question and could be worth keeping as back up.
Hatem Ben Arfa- The most naturally talented player at the club. His best period in the team came in 2011/12 when he was played on the right of a 433 system alongside Cisse. Had injuries but Pardew doesn’t think he’s a team player. The kind of player who needs to be allowed to create and not worry about tracking back.
YoanGouffran- Always works hard for the team although worryingly his effort levels seem to have decreased recently. Solid if unspectacular.
LoïcRémy – The kind of striker we need at Newcastle who will score goals. We should have got a deal tied up already but looks increasingly likely to leave for a more ambitious club in the summer.
Luuk de Jong – Has shown nothing that would convince me that signing him up would be a good idea.
Shola Ameobi- End of contract, a loyal servant of the club but perhaps his time is up.
Gabriel Obertan- Quick but lacks quality.
Sylvain Marveaux- Never seen enough of him to make a proper judgement. Hasn’t had a look in despite being fit.
Demba Ba- Proven at Newcastle and premier league level and Jose Mourinho is apparently looking to get rid. I’d take him back.
Clement Grenier and Remy Cabella –Rumoured to be after these two in January and would no doubt give us that creativity that we desperately need.
BafetimbiGomis- Long-term target with good goal scoring record at Lyon.
Oscar Cardozo- Top quality striker looking to leave Benfica.
Alfred Finbogasson- Scored a lot of goals in the Dutch league, linked before.
Micah Richards- Would be a great defensive buy for Newcastle and he is English.
Younes Belhanda- Has already said he would prefer Arsenal over Newcastle.
Ayoze Perez and Alexandre Lacazette- Two young strikers linked in the past few days.
Hopefully a couple of lads from the youth ranks can step up next season.
You can follow Leo on Twitter @leo_wilson1
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