As Newcastle fans found out last January, every player has their price. Andy Carroll was sold to Liverpool for £35million on the last day of the transfer window, despite Alan Pardew assuring fans his star striker would stay.
This compounded distrust of the board, and did the manager no favours, but things look to be turning a corner this season.
Although the Magpies failed to sign a number nine in the Summer, the addition of Demba Ba on a free transfer looks to be one of the signings of the season - already bagging 14 goals. Newcastle will be left short up front when he meets up with the Senegal squad for the African Cup of Nations. Leon Best and Shola Ameobi are struggling to find goals and before Hatem Ben Arfa scored against Bolton on Boxing Day, no other player but Ba had scored for Newcastle in five games.
Pardew has already stated that Newcastle will not be searching for a striker, despite Ba’s international commitments.
In defence Newcastle started the season in incredible fashion, going 11 games unbeaten, helped greatly by the partnership of Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor. Taylor was unfortunately ruled out for the rest of the campaign after tearing his Achilles, leaving the Magpies without a replacement centre back while Mike Williamson was recovering from a pre-season injury.
In order for the Toon Army to continue their successful season, defensive reinforcements are a must. And boss Pardew has made it clear he has the green light to sign at least one player to join the Newcastle rearguard.
Newcastle have been linked again with a move for Birmingham City’s Liam Ridgewell - it was rumoured that he was going to sign on the last day of the summer transfer window, but a deal failed to materialise. It has also been reported that Newcastle have officially made an enquiry about Ajax centre back Jan Vertonghen. The highly rated Dutch international is valued at £10 million, but is a reported target for number of top Premier League teams.
Newcastle fans will be more concerned with who is leaving the club.
Defensive midfielder Cheick Tiote is reportedly a target for the Top four sides after settling well in to the Premier League after last year’s move from FC Twente for £3.5 million. Pardew has said “He is very, very important and it would be very, very difficult to get him out of here.” It is alleged that it would take a bid in excess of £20 million to prise the Ivorian from Tyneside.
Fabricio Coloccini is also rumoured to be Liverpool’s latest Newcastle target. The Reds have already signed striker Andy Carroll and accomplished left back Jose Enrique. Pardew is keen to tie him down on a long-term contract, but talks are on going. The same is said of Danny Simpson, who is yet to sign a new contract amid talk he is looking for a move elsewhere.
If Newcastle are able to secure their own players during January, the easiest part of the job will have been done. Pardew needs to bring in some new faces to add strength and depth to a side that has already been weakened by injuries.
Chief Scout, Graham Carr, did well during the summer helping with the acquisitions of Yohan Cabaye, Demba Ba, Davide Santon and Mehdi Abeid. New arrivals of that calibre would help Newcastle to maintain an outside interest in European qualification.