Newcastle United cannot claim to be the best at many things, but when it comes to big money signings going wrong, they come into their own. From the likes of Carl Cort and Hugo Viana to Boumsong and Owen, Newcastle’s track record of signing players is not pretty reading. Perhaps the most bemusing is the signing of Albert Luque who spent only a couple of years in the North-East after signing for £9.5million from Deportiva La Coruna.
Before he arrived at Newcastle, Luque was one of the star performers in La Liga; despite being released by the Barcelona B team, he went on to find success with Deportivo and gained a reputation for scoring spectacular goals. He starred for the club in both the league and the Champions League; he was building a reputation as one of the stars of European football. During this period, Luque also began to make an impact for the Spanish national team and made appearances in the 2002 World Cup and the European Championships in 2004. However when he moved to Newcastle in the summer of 2005, everything began to unravel for Luque.
Luque’s first appearance came against Manchester United and it was a very promising debut for the Spaniard as he started the game as part of a three-man attack with Alan Shearer and Keiron Dyer. His performance was admirable and hopes were high that he could become an important player for Newcastle. However in his next game, Luque suffered a hamstring injury that ruled him out for a couple of months. Around this time the likes of Owen, Emre and Dyer all suffered from similar injuries and it was speculated that the training pitch was contributing to the injury-list.
Unfortunately for Luque, he never full regained fitness while at Newcastle; the first hamstring injury appeared to have had a dramatic impact on his body and he never regained the pace he possessed before getting injured. Things looked to be improving for Luque when in April 2006 when he scored against Sunderland in a 4-1 victory after coming on as a substitute. Despite this, Luque did not feature for Newcastle again that season. By the next season, Luque had fallen out of favour and despite a winner against Palermo in the UEFA Cup, he was behind the likes of Matty Pattison in the pecking order. He was moved on to Ajax in the summer; overall Luque’s career at Newcastle was a disaster; he only managed 21 league appearances and one league goal in his time at the club.
It could be argued the Luque was not given a chance at Newcastle; even when he regained fitness, he was never given a run in the side. He was certainly a talented player as shown by his time with Deportivo and it was unfortunate that he fell victim to the injury curse that lurked around Newcastle at the time.