Friday, July 18, 2014

Can Newcastle’s new faces revive the Magpies?

After briefly threatening the Champions League places in 2012-13, last season was a disappointing one for Newcastle and their tenth placed finish masked an alarming run of form towards the end of the campaign. After a bright start, fired by the goals of Loic Remy, the Magpies started to display relegation form so what can manager Alan Pardew do to recover ahead of the next campaign?

Newcastle are always busy in the transfer market and this summer has been no exception but who are the new faces and how can they help the team challenge for the European Places once again?

Dutch courage in defence

Newcastle United are among the outsiders at 8.20 with Betfair to drop into the Championship at the end of 2014-15 but those who witnessed the club at first hand towards the end of the last campaign might be seriously tempted by that figure.

One of the problem areas is in defence and while Mathieu Debuchy has left to join Arsenal, Pardew has been quick to nail down a replacement. Daryl Janmaat is the club’s most recent signing and the former Feyenoord defender was recently part of the Dutch squad that claimed third place at the 2014 World Cup.

Janmaat is very much a like-for-like replacement for the outgoing Debuchy but by all accounts he is more attack minded and is a reliable crosser of the ball. The 24 year old has also played with Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul at Ado Den Haag and also for the Dutch national side and that familiarity could be another bonus as he starts his Premier League career.

Greater threat in midfield

France has been a favoured destination for Newcastle scouts for some time and former Montpelier midfielder Remy Cabella is the latest to bring his Gallic flair to the north east. The 24 year old has signed on a six year deal and his record shows that he should bring more attacking threat to the centre line at St James’s park.

At his former club, Cabella averaged a shade under a goal every four games and for a midfielder that’s a promising average. Those stats have helped the player to earn his first full international cap and at a fee of £12m he could prove to be a bargain.

Potency in attack

Another 24 year old, Emmanuel Riviere has joined from Monaco for £6m and that’s the kind of relatively low fee that has supporters wondering whether he’s actually any good. An established centre forward in Europe would command at least twice that figure so can Riviere really compensate for the loss of his compatriot Loic Remy?

At Monaco, a record of 14 goals in 44 games isn’t great and with players of the calibre of Radamel Falcao and Dimitar Berbatov in that particular squad, it isn’t surprising that he’s been moved on. Riviere has promise but those stats suggest that this is a gamble on Pardew’s part.

New leadership on the pitch

Before Janmaat, Cabella and Riviere arrived at St James’s Park, Dutch international Siem De Jong signed for £6m and was immediately installed as the club’s vice captain. After seven successful years with Ajax, De Jong brings huge experience and this could be the shrewdest signing of them all.

20 year old Spaniard Ayoze and former Sunderland man Jack Colback have also joined over the summer in a typically busy period for the club. Newcastle’s transfer dealings have always been frantic and while they look to have made some promising purchases, the key to success is whether Alan Pardew can accommodate so many new faces and get them to gel as a unit.

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