After a Turbulent 10 Days for Newcastle United fans there appears to be light towards the end of the tunnel. After the lowest point of last season (the Cup exit to Championship side Brighton and the home defeat to Reading) it appeared that Newcastle United were doomed to a fate of a second relegation in 4 years.
Although only mid way through the season the writing was on the walls, for those that watched in amazement as a team full of premier league and international stars get relegated on the last day of the season- the fear of the drop was very real.
However, in one interview, I remember feeling that it wasn’t all over just yet. I recall BBC Newcastle’s Mick Martin trying to reassure fans that the club were making waves in the January transfer window. It was said that Newcastle United had bids in for 10 players – it was music to our ears.
After failing to strengthen in the summer Ashley proved that he did care (about his investment) and spent over £22m at a time typically known as an arid month in regards to transfers. What was brought in was not only quality internationals and proven top league players in Sissoko, Mbwia and Gouffran but more importantly ‘Hope’ and something to raise the troops.
The first half of the Aston Villa game we showed real quality with Sissoko assisting Cisse and Cabaye scoring a tremendous half volley from 22 yards. The second half we showed real character and defended well against a rampant Benteke in arguably Villa’s best performance up to that point. Newcastle continued this great spirit at SJP by beating European Champions Chelsea 3-2– despite going 2-1 down.
Its reported this morning that after meeting with Graham Carr, newly appointed Director of Football Joe Kinnear has identified his targets and is poised to make bids this week. Top of the list is the need for a new centre back to provide additional bolstering along with a complimentary striker to aide/back up Cisse. Its undoubtedly a chance to restore some faith in the hierarchy.
Talksport have reported a £12m bid has been made for Chiek Tiote’s international team mate 24 year old Wilfried Bony.
This would be a top signing, last season Bony scored 31 goals in 30 games, as well scoring 15 goals in 10 consecutive matches (a great record by any standards).
Comparisons will naturally be made to his idol and the premier League’s all time African top scorer Didier Drogba with the player himself stating “We have the same physical build and play in the same position, he helps me tremendously. We often call each other, especially just before we join up with the national team. We talk about tactics, my career, and what I need to do to become a better player”.
If Newcastle could secure his services it would be a real coup as Everton, Swansea are also chasing the player nicknamed ‘Daddy Cool’.
Fresh reports this morning have stated Newcastle are also preparing a £12m bid for Marseille forward, Andre-Pierre Gignac. Despite a steady 13 goals in 28 games for the former Ligue 1 champions, the striker had been somewhat inconsistent for the last 4 years.
His best season being in 2008-09 in which he scored 24 goals finishing the league’s top scorer and his worst being 2011-2012 in which he scored 1 in 21. For Newcastle to spend £12m on a player I think their record would need to be better and would believe that this is paper talk linking another Frenchman to St. James Park.
Also on the list is a centre back to provide much needed cover for the injury prone Steven Taylor. Its believed Kinnear’s preference is for a old fashioned English centre back with West Ham’s James Tomkins set to be on the list.
The price placed on the 24 year olds head was inflated in January as Newcastle were said to be in the hunt for the (at the time) out of favour England under 21 international. However that could have all changed with the signing of Andy Carroll. Its been reported the overall deal for the former Newcastle no 9 is said to be in the region of £44m (taking into account wages over 6 years and his fee).
Whether investment will be justified on a player who spends more time in the treatment room than on the pitch remains to be seen.
With the transfer season ‘un-officially’ starting on the 1st July (as most players contracts run until the 30th June) we’ll need to place some faith back into Graham Carr & Mike Ashley to pull off some of the signings they did in January.
After missing out on Remy it has been well documented that Mike Ashley is now more involved in transfers. The Sports Tycoon is notorious for being able drive good business but as Newcastle know all too well he’s not too quick to put his hand in his pocket when it doesn’t necessarily suite him (looking at last summer’s lack of transfer activity). I for one am optimistic about the signings we hope to make and, like with Cisse’s unexpected signing, sometimes no news is good news.