Although Mike Ashley has said he is willing to invest up to £15M in the summer on new players, it could prove that we don’t need that much. Demba Ba, for example, has been by far our best player this season, and we managed to snap him up on a free transfer during the summer months.
In the months leading up to July 1st, one of the most exciting topics to talk about is which players will be available on free transfers, with the likes of Luis Figo, Patrick Viera and Joe Cole (bit of a failure) all being snapped up in the past by clubs after their contract had expired.
I have therefore comprised a list of players whose contracts are running out in the summer. This list is made up of players whom I believe are realistic targets for a club such as Newcastle, and who would be able to add something to the team:
Tim Howard – With Steve Harper looking to move on in the summer to find first team football and Fraser Forster set to sign permanently for Celtic, the 32 year old American could be a fantastic investment. Brad Friedel, for example, has been one of the stand out players for Tottenham this Season, and he was a free transfer from Blackburn. His wage demands would be low as well. He also scored a screamer against Bolton!
Sébastien Bassong – He was brought to Newcastle in 2008 for a meager £500k from Metz and won Player of the Season in his first season in English football. He later went on to Tottenham for £8M but has failed to cement a first-team place at the North-London club. He is now on loan at Wolves but has shown he is still a quality player. He could be tempted to a return the North-East.
Royston Drenthe – Currently on loan at everton, he has been a blistering force in the Everton midfield this season with 5 assists and 2 goals in 16 games. He is a quick, strong, ball-winning midfielder, who has a fantastic pass on him. He is incredibly versatile and has been known to played in defence and attack for Real Madrid and would bring an experienced edge; something ideal for a team challenging for European football.
Junior Hoilett – Despite Blackburn’s recent meltdown under Steve Kean, Junior Hoilett has been a shining light in their midfield this season. We have struggled to find a fast-paced attacking winger in recent years, with Gutierrez and Obertan failing to impress this season. He can play on either wing and can offer a killer ball, which is exactly what Cisse and Ba crave.
Louis Saha – The forward is currently on loan at Tottenham from Everton and looks like a man reborn. He scored two goals against Newcastle on his home debut and showed he still has the scoring touch which he showed so prolifically at Fulham. He could act as cover for Demba and Papiss and the lad, who had a spell at Newcastle back in 1999, would be a wonderful signing. It is likely Tottenham will be making acquisitions in the summer to ready themselves for the CL, so won’t be keeping on to him.
Other players worth considering are Ryo Miyaichi (Arsenal), Kyle Naughton (Tottenham), Dedryck Boyata (Manchester City), Somen Tchoyi (West Brom) and Nicklas Bendtner (Arsenal).
Sign ’em up!