If Newcastle United manage to stay in the Premier League this season, Alan Pardew is looking to improve the attacking quality of his team with the £12million summer acquisition of Marseille’s attacking midfielder, Lucho Gonzalez.
The Toon are currently 4 points above the relegation zone, in one of the closest relegation battles the Premier League has seen, with only 6 points separating 11th and 20th. Although Newcastle are in a good position to stay up at the moment, it is hard to be fully confident, in a season of bizarre and surprising results that no-one could predict.
One of the bonuses for the Magpies is their goal-scoring, which has outstripped virtually all the teams around them, and Pardew is keen to improve their goal-threat further with the acquisition of the attack-minded Gonzalez.
The central midfielder, who Marseille bought for the princely sum of €18 million in june 2009, has proven himself in Portugal and France and is now keen to move up to the challenge of the Premier League. Gonzalez, 30, has earned 43 caps for Argentina since making his debut in 2003, and has an excellent goal-scoring record from midfield at club level.
Having excelled for Porto, where he once scored a superb 9 goals in 23 games one season, Gonzalez moved to Didier Deschamps’ Marseille at the beginning of 2009/10, and went on to win Ligue 1 in his debut season. A gifted footballer, with an eye for a pass and a dynamic attacking instinct, Gonzalez’s quality has not gone unnoticed in the North-East.
Deschamps is a fan of Gonzalez, who played in Marseille’s recent Champions League exit to Manchester United, but recent reports of a fall-out with the Argentine have raised the interest of foreign clubs, keen to offer the experienced international a way out of France, should he so desire.
To me, it seems unlikely that Gonzalez, unless his supposed fall-out with Deschamps was ‘Ferguson-Beckham’esque, would want to exchange the Meditarranean for Tyneside. He is with a title-chasing club that looks likely to feature in the Champions League every year and the lure of mid-table mediocrity or relegation-battling at Newcastle may not perk his interest. However, the Premier League itself is often a big draw, and should the bust-up escalate, we may be seeing midfield goals galore in the North-East next season.
For more rumour, conjecture, thoughts and theories, follow me on Twitter: @StuartCFootball
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