Newcastle United lost Demba Ba to Chelsea two weeks ago, Papiss Cisse doesn’t look like scoring and they’re set to miss out on Marseille forward, Loic Remy, as a replacement. So who can fire Alan Pardew‘s side to safety?
By Marc Eadie – @Eadie84
An eight million pounds fee had been agreed between Newcastle United and Marseille for the purchase of Loic Remy over the weekend but the Frenchman looks set to snub Tyneside for London as Queen’s Park Rangers now lead the race for his signature. Alan Pardew has a history of bringing over relatively unknown players from the other side of the channel but looking like he has failed this time where does he look next in his replacement for striker Demba Ba?
This time last season Newcastle were sitting in 6th position, far exceeding their expectations, and delighting neutrals with their football along the way. They were very much an ordinary side who had an outstanding work ethic sprinkled with exceptional talent in Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa and Demba Ba. Failing to reach the Champions League was not too disheartening for the Magpies but now, one year on, sitting 16th and without the recently departed Ba, Alan Pardew needs a striker to come in and help the club with what is now a very possible relegation battle.
Quite simply, Newcastle need a quick fix. The January window is more focused on players a manager feels can make an immediate impact. Sometimes a player can hit the ground running – as Papiss Cisse did last January for Newcastle– but time is not on their side. And only the best negotiators can make the most of the window. Not many clubs are willing to let their regular starters go midway through a season forcing clubs to look for bargains, players on the scrap heap or from lower divisions. Championship clubs such as Crystal Palace and Burnley will be desperately hoping nobody comes knocking for the likes of Wilfried Zaha or Charlie Austin. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Pardew again look to France in the shape of Bafetimbi Gomis at Lyon or even someone like Marko Arnautovic at Werder Bremen in Germany, but both of these players would likely cost more than their realistic values due to the time of sale.
There is no doubt that the Newcastle of 2012/2013 has not been anywhere near as solid as that of the previous season but while Pardew was forced to sell Ba through a minimum release clause he simply has to find a ready-made replacement. Cisse himself has only six goals in his last 29 and in the absence of Ba there really aren’t enough goals in the current Newcastle side. Signing a player in January and expecting an immediate impact is a gamble but it can work, sometimes from the first game, such as Joe Cole’s recent second debut for West Ham.
Who is the man to fire the Toon Army to safety? Tweet @talkingbaws or comment below. Watch out for Nicky Boyle’s blog tomorrow.