Having enjoyed a successful 2011/12 campaign, it’s fair to say that the year has ended on a sour note with the club being an earshot away from the creak of the trapdoor below. So with a substantial number of Newcastle fans expecting an overhaul in January, here are some of the possible moves which could define the fortunes of the club for the remainder of the season.
Demba Ba. Nothing has yet been confirmed involving our top scorer, but it looks as though contact has been made between Ba’s representatives and Chelsea. Inevitably, it would be a huge blow to see the striker leave St James’ Park, but what would be needed is a reaction. Pardew needs to make sure that replacements are on hand if a deal is struck. Nevertheless, all hope is not lost, with some sources claiming talks have already broken down.
Danny Simpson. It seems that any chance of the right back signing a new contract are lost, so perhaps Pardew should consider selling instead of biting off more than he can chew. The rumours are that Simpson is looking for a move to London, possibly Fulham, in order to be situated nearer to girlfriend Tulisa. If the stories are true, the idea of having someone who puts a slapper ahead of his football at the club is unappealing.
Cheick Tiote. Another one of our players who doesn’t seem to get a day’s rest from the limelight of the tabloids. The central midfielder hasn’t been at his best for large parts of this season, but he is still undoubtedly a very good player. The club’s resilience and nerve may be tested if offers come in.
Loan Deals. In other seasons, it would be much easier to loan out a bunch of our youngsters or fringe players. However, the club’s participation in the Europa League could mean that the squad can’t lose any depth over the next few months. Despite this, short term loans for the likes of Amalfitano, Abeid and Tavernier would do no harm and could help with their development.
Mathieu Debuchy (Lille). The old cliché that every cloud has a silver lining may have come true. Because despite Ba’s possible departure, the club look to have finally reached an agreement with Lille for right back Mathieu Debuchy. The talented Frenchman would certainly sure up the defence and add attacking impetus. A steal at £5m if reports are correct.
Loic Remy (Marseille). Another France international who has been linked to the club for a while now. Our striker situation is precarious, and so strengthening of the position is desperately needed. The 25 year old appears to be set on a move away from OM, but it could take a £15m fee to see him in black and white.
Mamadou Sakho (PSG) - The recent defeat to Arsenal revealed the need for a revamp of the defence, with fans being particularly critical of Mike Williamson. And with Steven Taylor prone to injury, perhaps another centre back is needed. Mamadou Sakho has been linked with Newcastle for the past few months, with the out of favour Frenchman having only played once for PSG this season. However, his wage demands could prove to be an insurmountable barrier.
A creative midfielder. The absence of Yohan Cabaye has exposed the squad’s lack of creativity at times, with many concerned with the increasing number of aimless long balls up the pitch. There are a range of playmakers who have been linked with The Magpies, including Southampton’s Adam Lallana, Toulouse’s Moussa Sissoko and AZ’s Adam Maher. However, given that Cabaye is expected to be back in the squad by February, it remains to be seen whether Pardew would be willing to spend on a player who might not normally be a regular in the starting XI.
Admittedly, I highly doubt that all of these transfers will take place. In fact, perhaps none of these players will even come close to signing! Despite this, I feel that it is these four positions (RB, CB, CM & STR) which could be addressed during the transfer window. It remains to be seen whether the next 31 days prove to be merry or disastrous for Newcastle United.