Following the release of Kevin Keegan’s explosive new book, Newcastle United fans have been in pieces. Indeed, not only does his tell-all autobiography detail the extent of Mike Ashley’s incompetence, it also revealed the fact that the club passed up a move for Luka Modric.
The Croatian, who was recently crowned the FIFA Men’s Best Player of the Year, was reportedly passed up by the Magpies due to a perceived lack of physicality. Yet another wonderful decision from the Ashley regime.
However, he’s not the only midfielder to have slipped through the grasp of the Toon Army. Here in our The one that got away series, we’ll explore yet another missed opportunity.
Newcastle United – Scott Brown, 2010
Now, Brown clearly isn’t as talented as Modric and missing out on his addition may not be looked back on with the same sinking feeling amongst the St. James’ Park faithful, though we must take into account the timing in which he could have moved to Tyneside.
The Celtic captain recently told the Daily Record that he had an offer from Newcastle at the start of the decade after falling out with Tony Mowbray at Parkhead. Indeed, despite the pair getting on famously well at Hibernian, the Bhoys boss is understood to have told the midfielder he was free to leave in the January of 2009/10 season.
At that point, Newcastle manager Chris Hughton had built a side perfect for someone like Brown to join as the club aimed to return to the Premier League at the first of asking. Their engine room included the likes of Joey Barton, Kevin Nolan, Alan Smith and Nicky Butt, so Brown would certainly feel at home.
Smith and Butt were nearing the end of their careers and the Scotland skipper could have come in to replace either of them, especially when looking ahead to a return to the top flight of English football. When you throw in the fact that Andy Carroll was spearheading the Newcastle attack, the whole team seemed tailor-made for a player such as ‘Broony’.
Even upon their promotion, the Magpies continued to battle and perhaps Brown would have addressed some of the soft issues at the core of the Newcastle team at the beginning of the Alan Pardew era to follow. Clearly, there’s no guarantee (especially at a basket case club such as the Magpies) that the Scot would have stuck around as long as he has at Celtic, though it’d have certainly been interesting.
There’s no doubt that Luka Modric is clearly far superior to Brown but the Celtic skipper would have suited Newcastle far better at the time.