By Joshua Lok.
The optimism amongst the Newcastle faithful on the back of a string of good performances towards the end of last year has been marred by a thrashing by Tottenham and coming up second-best in the heated Tyne-Wear derby.
To make things worse, they have also yet to chalk up their first win in 2015 and will not only have to contend with losing Alan Pardew (whether this is a bane or a blessing a debate for another time), but also potentially having to cope with Sissoko’s southward departure to Arsenal, already having terminated Ben Arfa’s contract upon the completion of his loan at Hull City.
It thus goes without saying that the January transfer window is a make or break moment for Newcastle, who will have to fill both managerial and playing vacancies with the best possible candidates if they are to stem the rot.
A realistic target for Newcastle is Sporting winger Diego Capel, who is currently out of favour at the club having fallen down the pecking order, especially with the temporary return of Nani who spent his formative years at the club.
The 26-year-old has represented Spain at various levels and once the senior squad, while being an integral component of the dominant Sevilla side including Dani Alves which retained the UEFA Cup (now the Europa League) after winning it in 2006-07. His time at the club has also resulted in an impressive collection of trophies including 2 Copa Del Reys and one Supercopa de España despite the duopoly of Madrid and Barcelona.
Although not the most prolific of attackers, Capel has somewhat managed to improve on his goalscoring record during his time at Sporting and is capable of both intricate wing-play and the occasional long-range strike. He can thus inject much-needed creativity into Newcastle’s attack in lieu of Sissoko and if not, provide a capable alternative for the new manager.
Whether Capel can thrive in the Premier League as his compatriots traditionally have done of late, on the other hand, depends on his adaptability and both mental and physical fortitude. However, going by the recent crop of Spanish players who have steered their career paths towards our part of the world, one would be foolish to put this beyond him.