Yesterday, Newcastle’s Cheick Tiote put pen to paper on a 6 year deal which will see him net a substantial wage packet until 2017. Manager Alan Pardew pointed to the deal as being a signal that Mike Ashley means to commit financially to the club throughout the next few months.
Tiote’s commiting to the team is also good news for Newcastle players Joey Barton and Jonas Guttierrez, who had been very publically questioning the transfer policy of Ashley and Co. The fact that Newcastle have managed to secure Tiote (who is a player who’s been getting some very admiring glances following his recent performances) for the next 6 years, shows that perhaps now Ashley is finally learning that he needs to spend big if he wants to see success.
Pardew certainly thinks so. He claimed that Ashley ‘wanted to send a message to the fans that he is here, he is keeping his eye firmly on the club and he wants to build the club.’ Newcastle are currently sitting on a £35 million ‘war-chest’ that Pardew has claimed will be fully invested into the team over the summer. He told reporters, ‘the short of it is, we will be signing players in the summer, for sure.’ But where do Newcastle need to invest, and who is they should be going for? As the Tavern’s resident Newcastle fan, it’s my duty (some might say punishment) to give my thoughts on where that £35 million nest egg should be spent. So, here goes….
Defence – Let’s start from the back. Putting aside the goal-keeper (Steve Harper and Tim Krul don’t really need replacing) undoubtedly Newcastle will need to reinforce their back four if they want to mount a serious Premiership campaign.
Collocinni is one of the stars of the team, and Pardew will be keen to see that he goes nowhere in Summer. Left-back Jose Enrique however, is another issue. He’s already more or less stated his desire to leave, and it will be a real struggle to convince him otherwise, with Liverpool and Manchester United already sniffing around.
As for possible replacements, Celtic’s Emilio Izaguirre is being linked with practically everyone at the moment, but if Pardew can make the right offer then he could pull off a major coup.
Midfield – Probably the strongest area of the Newcastle team.Nolan, Barton and Tiote are all playing some great stuff at the moment, and with Dan Gosling and Hatem Ben Arfa to come back, Pardew is going to be spoilt for choice!
Let’s not forget Alan Smith and Steven Ireland (though let’s try to forget about Danny Guthrie!) This could be the area that sees the traditional ‘NEWCASTLE BIG NAME SIGNING’ that happens every year (remember Kluivert and Owen after Shearer retired?). I expect us to be linked with both Joe Cole and Wright-Phillips, but I wouldn’t be heart broken if we fail to get either of them in.
I would be very happy however, if Pardew made a move for Chelsea’s Florent Malouda who’s supposed to be on his way out of the Bridge this coming summer. A player of proven ability amongst the grafters like Barton and Nolan would be an excellent addition to the Toon line-up.
Up-Front – This could be where we see the bulk of that £35 million spent. Best and Lovenkrands have been putting in a real shift since Carroll’s departure and to be fair they’ve both been in good form. I also like Nile Ranger, though he’s not as prolific as he could be.
And then there’s, Shola….who….well…er….In all seriousness, Lovenkrands isn’t getting any younger and it wouldn’t hurt to recruit some fire-power for next year’s campaign. Recently, the Magpies were said to be monitoring Djibrill Cisse who is said to want a move back to the Premiership following a nasty experience in Greece.
Carlton Cole is another name being bandied around, but I fail to see how he would be little more than a glorified Marlon Harewood. Pardew is also interested in young Connor Wickham at Ipswich Town, but he may face a battle from Tottenham and Liverpool for his signature. Arsene Wenger’s interest in the 17 year old has cooled, following reports that Wickham may not be up to Arsenal’s high standards.
I’m sure that Pardew and Ashley already have their own shopping list, but the top and tail of the team definitely needs investment. Age isn’t too much of an issue, but there needs to be genuine quality there, not just stop-gap signings who will be used as cover for more established figures. And of course, Pardew needs to hang onto Barton, Nolan, Guttierrez, Collocinni and Harper.
A few more positive contract negotiations wouldn’t go a miss at any rate!
Follow Peter Turner on Twitter @petermagpie
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