Having already spent a bit this January, Sports Direct overlord Mike Ashley is unlikely to be going crazy this summer…
With the ever looming shower of inconvenient bids set to hit Newcastle come July, the newly respectable club might have to start planning for cheap alternatives to the likes of Demba Ba and Cheick Tiote. Far from endorsing the bully boy approach to transfer business implemented from the giants of our game, this writer lives in the hope that a side battling all the odds to build a half decent squad might just be able to finish the job without being subtly blackmailed into letting Chelsea take things from here.
But, this is the Premier League, and who would bet against the possibility that Ba’s already reading over his conveniently placed contract clause with interest, and dreaming of the bright lights of North London or Manchester.
If that is the case then Newcastle need a plan B. Mike Ashley, barring recent form, isn’t usually one to rush to his side’s aid. So when he checks up on all the washed up bargains of the footballing world, he might just be inclined to take a punt on these:
Miguel – Valencia
Danny Simpson has done a sterling job for the Geordies this term, featuring in just about every minute of the season. But Newcastle look threadbare in the full back positions, and could be aided by Portuguese international Miguel. Though the 32 year old has only featured 14 times or his club this season, his international pedigree and lightening pace could prove useful, as Newcastle look to add depth to their ranks.
Marcos Senna – Villarreal
At 35, the Spaniard is nothing short of ancient. But, so is Paul Scholes, so was Claude Makelele and so was Patrick Vieira when playing for their respective clubs in the twilight of their careers. So much emphasis is places on pace and youth these days, but watching Scholes manipulate games with ease after a six month sabbatical, you have to start valuing the merit of experience. Senna was the lynch pin for Spain only four years ago, and his positioning and passing technique can never be questioned. Would aid younger players such as Tiote and Cabaye to no end.
Daniel Van Buyten – Bayern Munich
Centre back is another precarious position for the Toon. Frabicio Colloccini has surprised everybody with his evolution into a capable leader of men, but with the injury prone Stephen Taylor and the solid but unspectacular Mike Williamson providing the only real back-up, Pardew could use a monster of a Belgian defender whose intimidating presence could just suit the English game. Which is convenient because Van Buyten’s available on a free at the end of the year, and could just fit that mold. He has brief experience of the league having played for City nearly ten years ago, and once more would provide vital experience for a plucky Newcastle outfit.
Sebastian Kehl – Borussia Dortmund
Having mentioned the term experience almost as much as I’ve exhaled carbon dioxide upon writing this article, it’s hard to think of another word to describe a 32 year old German who’s plied his trade for Budesliga champions Dortmund for the best part of ten years. So I wont, because he is experienced and again it’s just the ticket for Pardew. Failing to provide the glitz of other potential freebies such as Michael Ballack and Mikael Silvestre (I jest), Kehl does his job effectively and efficiently, sitting in front of the back four and playing it simple. The last time the Toon boasted a player of such qualities was…well it was a very long time ago. Like Senna, would supplement the impressive current midfield duo of Tiote and Cabaye nicely, and provide extra protection for an over worked back four.
Raul – Schalke
I’ve included Champions League king Raul for admittedly selfish reasons. The Spaniard has never played in the Premier League, and it would be magical to see him light up St James during the winter of his career. A Far more likely outcome of such a move would perhaps be a panting 35 year old struggling to get to grips with the unfamiliar approach of centre back’s such as Robert Huth, as the glorious memories of yesteryear fade helplessly into the distance. But I’d like to think the Real Madrid could teach Leon Best a thing or two.
It’s also worth noting that Emile Heskey could be available for absolutely nothing. Not a Penny.
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