I’ll start off by assessing Fabricio Coloccini. ‘Captain Colo’ as he’s affectionately known by the fans is, in my opinion the most important player we have. One of the many reasons he’s indispensable to the club, is the way he’s lead us up the table and has captained us into Europe. His solidity at the back emanates throughout the side and gives us immense stability and self-belief when things aren’t going our way. He and Steven Taylor have also formed a formidable partnership at the heart of our defence; a defence that with Coloccini kept 15 clean sheets last season, a vast improvement from the days of Bramble and Boumsong at the back.
Now to move onto the importance of Cheik Tioté, and the Ivorian has made himself a fan favourite since his relatively low key transfer from FC Twente in 2010. Tioté is the player who does all of the untidy stuff, and although most fans do appreciate that, there are a select few who think that he’s easily replaced; to those few I can only tell you how wrong you are. On deadline day every player in the markets price becomes inflated, take Andy Carroll for example, a £35m player he most certainly was not, so if we want to replace Tioté, who’ll sell for £20m minimum, everyone will know they can take an extra £5m from us; £5m that Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias will not be willing to pay.
Next up, is Yohan Cabaye. Yohan, who has only had one season at Newcastle so far, has had an unfathomably positive impact. His form last season when given a more free role in midfield was exceptional, he was creating chances for Papiss Cissé at will and even managed to grab a couple of goals for himself. An interesting stat with Cabaye that is often overlooked, is that last season he made a staggering 150 tackles last season; the most in the entire league. Stats like that show just how versatile a player he is, and a one that would be sorely missed.
Finally for the exceptional Hatem Ben Arfa. Ben Arfa has been a troubled soul for previous clubs, bt it seems Alan Pardew’s magic touch has brought the best out of him. It was not too long ago in France when Ben Arfa looking disinterested and bored when his team wasn’t in possession, now he is constantly chasing back and working for the team. In my opinion, when Hatem Ben Arfa is in possession, it can be impossible to get the ball from him; it’s as if the ball is glued to his foot as he weaves his way past three or four players at will. Majestic. To lose Hatem would cost us a lot in terms of creativity, he and Cabaye are probably the only proven playmakers we have. Another Ben Arfa possesses that will be near impossible to replace is the way he can turn a game on its head all by himself. He did it last season a number of times, and no doubt will do it again.
So then, now that I’ve taken everything into account, I think that the one player that we can afford to let go of more so than the others is probably Cheik Tioté. Although like I said, a replacement for Tioté would be hard to come by at this time in the window, I think that in Vurnon Anita we may already have a player capable of filling Cheik’s big boots. However, whether any of these players are to be sold, will only be found out in the days to come.
by Daniel Vinton.