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New Kids on the Block – A Productive Pre-Season

With a matter of days before the season starts, United fans will remain glued to the back pages, refreshing their Twitter feeds as fast as they can in order to discover if more new arrivals have put pen to paper.


Drawn out discussions and complex contract negotiations will continue to aggravate eager fans who simply want to see the quantity and quality of their club grow, before the season gets underway. Pardew’s purchases may have not have been the names on top of fans’ wanted list, (recently stating he’s aiming to gain another three players by the deadline) but they have proved their worth during a packed pre-season calendar.

Newcastle’s tour of Austria and Germany, along with their participation in the Guadiana Trophy, meant that many fringe players were given a run out. The several games on foreign soil, against stiff opposition will have hopefully helped the new signings find their feet and show the talent that caught the eye of Graham Carr and his team.

And raw talent is just what caught Pardew’s attention to the Championship Apprentice of the Season, Gael Bigirimana. Not only does the former Coventry midfielder look like Tiote, but also carries a similar composure on his shoulders similar to the Ivorian.

At the age of only 18, his calmness in possession, along with a wide range of passing, gives off an aura of experience beyond his years. With the possibility of Tiote leaving for the African Cup of Nations, the departure of Danny Guthrie and of course the demanding fixture schedule, the Burundian has put himself firmly in contention for the centre-mid spot, after several solid displays throughout the summer.

Romain Amalfitano may be a mouthful for fans, but he also proved to be a handful for Gateshead last week. Picking up the ball from his own half, beating two defenders on his way to scoring a stunning goal past the Heed keeper, bagging Newcastle’s second of the night.  

Reserves’ gaffer, Willie Donachie believes that the 22-year-old will continue to excel once he is settled into the English game and lifestyle. The former-Reims midfielder has shown his creativity and attacking ability with a number of starts and substitute appearances during the pre-season.

Although the two midfielders may have shared the spotlight when it comes to summer arrivals, Australian youngster Curtis Good has patiently been waiting for his debut in black and white. On trail for the Magpies back in April, the 19-year-old has impressed Donachie as he looks to break into the senior squad.

The left footed centre-back, looked strong against Gateshead for the reserves, dealing with aerial threats well and keeping a cool head when the opposition rarely pressed forward. Steven Taylor’s return from injury will provide further competition for Good to reach the starting line-up, however, don’t be surprised to see the fresh faced Aussie get the call up from Pardew when needs be in the opening  weeks of the season.

All three signings are likely to make an appearance in today’s penultimate warm up game, away to Hartlepool United. They will then have their final chance to impress Pardew before the season gets underway, as they travel down to Wales to face Championship side Cardiff City.

The new trio will undoubtedly bring a breath of fresh air to a relatively small squad, which will be tested to the limit with European football. Whether they manage to break into the first team is another matter. For now though, we can be confident in the fact that our transfer policy is producing the goods and we will surely reap the rewards in the not too distant future.

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