Midfielder Adel Taarabt of Queens Park Rangers has been rumored to be a target of Newcastle for some time now, but it has long been thought that he would pass them over for more prestigious clubs, with recent commentary suggesting that he was headed for one of the Big 4. That changed earlier today when Taarabt made some comments that some would consider inflammatory:
People say Newcastle will be good for me, that the fans love players like me. It is fantastic to play in front of 50,000 supporters every week. I do not need one of the very big clubs at this stage of my career.
The Metro article quoted above suggests that Taarabt would view a club like Newcastle as a stepping stone, and I'm not sure there's a better way to put it. There's no indication in this article or any other I could find that Pardew or any other Newcastle official has even spoken to Taarabt, but even if the link is concrete, how would you feel about bringing on a player of Taarabt's talent even as he's already looking forward to life at another club?
Loyalty is certainly a virtue lacking in supply in football these days, but then again, the current transfer system is set up to reward greed, isn't it? It sure is nice to hear Cheik Tiote say that Newcastle is perfect for him, but at the end of the day, supporters want to see quality from their footballers. Nobody cares if James Perch is committed to the club, for example.
So why is it that I cringe when I hear Adel Taarabt, considered by virtually all observers to be among the class of the Championship, give the Toon a back-handed compliment like that? There's little question that he could step on the pitch right now as one of Pardew's Starting XI and have a positive impact, so why shouldn't I want him? The truth is, we like to imagine that our superheroes are 100% committed to us, but in a world where the captain can be sold for roughly what he was brought in for, loyalty means nothing.
Maybe I'm crazy for saying so, but I believe that Pards should jump all over this. Anything can happen. Adel could arrive on Tyneside, fall in love with the place, and never want to leave (not very likely). He could help this squad achieve new heights, turning it into one of the clubs that he aspires to (only slightly more likely). His presence could help the Gervinho's of the world realize that this is a team worth joining forces with and fighting for (now we're getting somewhere).
The point is, if Newcastle really is on the outside looking in when the discussion of big clubs begins, then they are not in any kind of position to be ruling out talented players because of their aspirations. It does suck to hear Jose Enrique Sanchez belittle the Magpies even as he plays for them, but at least left back wasn't a problem last year. The same goes for Taarabt. He can come play for my squad, even if he's not seduced by it, because this isn't a marriage, it's football. Just ask Kevin Nolan.