Newcastle United – Stronger Or Weaker?
As we all know, the summer months see us develop fleeting affections for funny minority sports, but also become voracious gossip queens as we devour the plethora of media sites in the hunt of the latest transfer rumour.
Then we take to Social Media to argue over such burning issues as to whether M’biwa is the greatest centre half since Moore, or in fact Jean-Alain Boumsong’s shorter, less talented cousin (I sit somewhere in the middle on that question).
What we do all like to do is look at the comings and goings and try to outdo ourselves in the analysis of these movements, which is precisely what I am about to do.
Let’s get beyond simple mathematics though. There is a clear theory that if you lose more players than you gain, then you must have a poorer squad, I contend otherwise. If you lose youngsters who never played, injury prone fringe players that made no impact and old warhorses past their prime, then the squad isn’t inherently damaged.
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Money too, is not a pure barometer of success, which we know all too well. We spent £9m on Boumsong but the £1m we paid for Williamson is better value; Luque cost us £10m, yet I think that unquestionably the £5m that Ben Arfa cost saw us ahead. We have signed some turkeys in the past, so it is dangerous to say “we have spent nowt” and use that as the winning gambit in this type of debate.
I prefer to try to look at who has gone and who has replaced them and then guess (because let’s face it, with new players if is mainly guesswork) if they will be better.
Siem De Jong looks a decent player, with good experience and plays in the space that we lacked anything in following the departure of Cabaye. Is he as good as Cabaye; unlikely, but he was exceptional, but SDJ certainly seems to be a clear improvement on what we had February onwards.
Remy Cabella is the one that we are excited about because the Chronicle whipped us into a frenzy since January. I don’t know much of him as a player, but the reviews are decent and anyone with pace, skill and creativity goes down well in my books. My concern is that he replaces the wasted Ben Arfa, but the preference aside, Cabella will offer something new and different, so he’s clearly better than Obertan, Marveaux or Jonas (bless him).
Daryl Janmaat impressed me in the World Cup and we have picked up a major nation’s 1st choice right-back for less than half the price we sold another one for, so that does sound like good business.
Riviere is no Remy, but really he is replacing Shola, so he must be better than that, faster and more mobile surely (and I say that as Shola’s biggest fan).
Colback is a worker and versatile, so let’s say that he is worth Jonas and Gosling combined.
Like most of us I want another first choice striker to fill the boots of Remy, but there is still time (for us to sell as well as buy)
This summer, I would contend that our squad looks better than it did. Debuchy’s departure saddened me, but we have replaced him. Maybe we have finally replaced Cabaye with 2 players that add a little something special, and overall I think our midfield looks pretty strong now.
Like I said, it’s all guesswork at this stage, but I am more optimistic than I was in May, maybe that is the nature of being a Toon fan, but regardless.
Howay the Lads!
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