By Nick FriendOne could argue that despite Yohan Cabaye’s departure for Paris Saint-Germain in late January that the window was a success for Newcastle – not the sort of success that Alan Pardew’s side will reap the rewards of this season, but one that may seem apparent when the 2014-15 season begins.
With the World Cup round the corner, the last man Newcastle would want sealing deals for big signings would be Joe Kinnear. With the greatest respect to him (he once won Manager of the Month back in 1997, you know!), his departure is not only a blessing for the club but also a triumph for the integrity of Premier League football. He was becoming a running joke – mainly at the club’s expense.
When he spoke with so little eloquence about Kebab and Ben Afree, one couldn’t help but be amused. Yet arguably, selling his ‘Yohan Kebab’ without a lined-up successor so close to the deadline was befitting of the chaotic and bizarre reign of Joe Kinnear as Director of Football. It defied both logic and sanity and gives Alan Pardew a headache that he could most definitely have done without.
As far as Cabaye’s successor is concerned though, whom Alan Pardew and Graham Carr choose remains to be seen. I’ve drawn up my list of six potential options, featuring options from both close to home and abroad:
If it were up to me, the Basque midfielder would be the man that I would approach first. For me, he is as close to Yohan Cabaye as any midfielder that I have seen in Europe this season. Excellent on the ball and with superb vision and passing, Beñat would be an excellent addition to the Magpies. Not your typical Spaniard, he would enjoy the rough-and-tumble atmosphere of the Premier League.
The man that Newcastle saw as Cabaye’s replacement in January may be the man for whom Alan Pardew returns in the summer. Not quite a like-for-like switch, Grenier would want to operate further forward than his predecessor did. A France international, however, this would not be a bad move for either party.
Having been linked with a move to the Premier League in every window for about as long as I can remember, M’Vila may well move on from Rubin Kazan in the summer. Having been reportedly close to a switch to Liverpool in January, the powerful Frenchman would be a very different sort of signing to Cabaye and would indicate the sort of change in style that Alan Pardew has discussed recently. A good passer of the ball, M’Vila is more in the mould of a Tiote or Sissoko than the languid and cultured passing of Cabaye.
The signing of the Southampton youngster would be quite a coup for Pardew given the height of his stock as one of Britain’s best young prospects. Too lightweight a year ago, Ward-Prowse has come on leaps and bounds under the stewardship of Mauricio Pocchetino. A supremely technically gifted midfielder, it may just be a year or two too soon.
Depending on West Ham’s ultimate fate this season, Ravel Morrison may be sure to move on for the Hammers. He is far too good a prospect to ply his trade in the Championship and if West Ham are relegated, I’d be shocked if Newcastle are not amongst a host of interested suitors – especially with the possibility of Hatem Ben Arfa’s departure as well.
Finally, this will seem like a slightly left-field shout. It shouldn’t though. Ever since being deemed not good enough to make the grade at Arsenal, Lansbury has rebuilt his career in the Championship. The popular opinion of both his own manager and that of his rivals is that Lansbury is the best midfielder in the division on the ball. It is a statement not worth debating at the moment as Lansbury spearheads Nottingham Forest’s charge for the second automatic promotion place.
Who would you like to see enter the fray at Newcastle? Have we missed anyone out?