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Stepping Stone United?

6 years ago

Over the years, we have seen many players come and go, moving on to ‘bigger’ clubs, labelling Newcastle United as a stepping stone for players.

As true is this may be, could it not be said that most clubs are a stepping stone for players until they reach their highest level?

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When Cabaye arrived from Lille in 2011, the Frenchman was criticised for leaving Champions League football at Lille for Newcastle and the Premier League.

After a successful spell on Tyneside, Cabaye got his dream move to PSG, leaving Newcastle with a healthy profit margin. Of course, we all know how that move worked out, with ‘dreamboat’ having now signed for Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace.

Despite the disappointment, Cabaye’s use of Newcastle as a stepping stone got him the move he wanted.

Did Cabaye use Newcastle, or was he simply playing for a team below his standard?

Wilfried Bony joined Swansea following great success in the Dutch league with Vitesse Arnhem, before later joining Manchester City after scoring for fun in South Wales.

Did Bony use Swansea as a stepping stone, or was he simply playing for a team which did not match his standards?

Since promotion, Southampton have become one of the biggest selling clubs right now, they could even be classed as a feeder club for Liverpool! Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Nathaniel Clyne and Luke Shaw have all moved to ‘bigger’ clubs to further their careers.

Another player that left The Saints, Gareth Bale, found himself swapping North London for Madrid as he headed to the Bernabeu for a world record fee of £85m. Along with Bale, Modric also left Spurs for Real Madrid.

Does this mean Bale and Modric used Spurs as a stepping stone, or were their performances of a higher calibre, thus attracting bigger clubs?

There are a whole host of other examples that I have not mentioned which further support my argument. There is next to no loyalty in football these days.

If a club signs a player and expects him to see out his career there, then they clearly haven’t been paying attention to what is going on around them. Every player has a sell on value. Every player has aspirations to play at the highest level possible.

Moussa Sissoko has made it very evident that he has higher aspirations, and had he performed at a higher level during his Newcastle career, he probably would have got his big move by now. Cabaye performed to a higher standard and moved to a ‘bigger’ club.

Newcastle United may be a stepping stone for a lot of players but so is almost every other club.

There are a select number of clubs who are at the highest level – Newcastle are not one of them.

You can follow James on Twitter @jrutherford11 


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