Newcastle United Friday Links: Better Late Than Never Edition

Just because- Mike, I underrated you. Thank you for solidifying our shaky Steven Taylor-less defence.

Good Morning, folks, and welcome to the freshest edition of the Links-- freshest as in it's today's version... not Fresh Prince type freshest. Although it may be that too... who knows? The days are passing on by, and the match with QPR is now squarely in our sights and we are nearly to the point where the January window starts closing. Today's links are dominated by young midfielders, either present Mags or potential. Let's jump in!

Pardew: Still work to be done for emerging duo - NUFC Latest News - Newcastle United - ChronicleLive

Pardew told the Chronicle: "They’ve both shown in little cameos going forward that they’re going to be big players for us. "Haris was a bit nervous at Liverpool in my opinion. "Mehdi will learn from Blackburn too. In the first half, he just got a little bit conservative, and dropped a little bit too deep. "In the second half he took his game on, and took himself up against the midfielder players, and we looked better for it."

Mehdi and Haris both seem to have it all in front of them, and at this point Haris (though he's older) looks more choice to take advantage... but we are developing a logjam of highly talented young midfielders and only look to be adding to it. I'm business dumb, but it would seem that at a certain point, you start hindering yourself in this buy low sell high endeavour when you end up with more players than you can possibly showcase.

NUFC close in on Man Utd's Ravel Morrison - NUFC News - NUFC - JournalLive

And more significantly, the player and his advisors believe a move to St James’ Park would be beneficial for a career that has stalled in recent years. Manchester-born Morrison is willing to relocate to the North East and, while he has a history of trouble with the police, sources close to the player claim he is more misunderstood than a trouble-maker. "Ravel has got plenty to prove and Newcastle have got nothing to lose. "This deal potentially works for everybody," a source close to Morrison told The Journal. "Ravel is just desperate to play first-team football at a big club and Newcastle certainly qualify on that front."

Information out there lists Ravel as a midfielder or a striker... I've seen him described as "the most technically gifted midielder to come through the ManU Academy since Paul Scholes"... so I'll assume that an assessment of him as a number 10 kind of fits. Problem: We have a number 10 that can't seem to find the pitch under AP anyway... and we have the midfield conundrum that I mentioned above. But he's supremely talented...

Mehdi Abeid out to make name for himself - NUFC Latest News - Newcastle United - ChronicleLive

MEHDI ABEID has a simple aim with Newcastle United – to end up being a better player than the man he is standing in for. The 19-year-old came into the United side for Cheick Tiote last weekend and put in a polished performance against Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup, leaving the field to an appreciative round of applause from the United faithful. With Tiote away on African Nations Cup duty, Abeid is hoping to get the nod once more against Queens Park Rangers.

I'm beginning to like Mehdi more and more. He's been quite ready with a quote (even if they are moderately canned) and one would be hard-pressed to doubt his desire to do well for the Toon.

Gutierrez: We have to step up and fire home - NUFC Latest News - Newcastle United - ChronicleLive

Jonas told the Chronicle: "All the team have to score goals – that’s going to be really important. "The defence and midfield have to score more goals. We have to make sure Demba’s absence doesn’t affect our results. "I try to do my best. If I have a chance to shoot, I will shoot, that’s what I ask of others." But Jonas knows that emphasis now turns to Leon Best, Shola Ameobi and Peter Lovenkrands as Newcastle aim to stay in the upper echelons of the Premier League.

I can't agree more. I wonder, historically, if a team has ever had a more drastic shift from midfield dominated goal-scoring to forward dominated goal-scoring.

Hatem Ben Arfa's on a mission to entertain - NUFC Latest News - Newcastle United - ChronicleLive

And he says that the knowledgeable crowd at St James’ Park will always keep him right. The 24-year-old said: "In every game I must show what I can do – you must perform every week to keep your place. "If I play, I will try to show what I can do. "The fans are very important to me. "The fans give me confidence, and I feel they love me, and this is important to me. "I feel their support, and this helps me on the pitch. I want to make them happy." Ben Arfa also knows that his current form will make the difference for him ahead of this summer’s Euro 2012. Ben Arfa said: "My first priority is Newcastle. "But I am like any player and want to play for my country. "My aim is to go to Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine but I know I have to be playing, and playing well for my country to do this."

If HBA continues to be a fringe player even with Ba gone, this is going to be something to keep an eye on. A notoriously temperamental player seeing that he's losing out on his chance to participate in Euro 2012... could get ugly. I doubt that it's going to go that way, mind... but it is something to keep an eye on.

Newcastle's Demba Ba enjoying African prep - NUFC Latest News - Newcastle United - ChronicleLive

NEWCASTLE striker Demba Ba was on target for Senegal last night in their 1-0 friendly win over Sudan. The in-form striker struck in the first half in the warm-up game ahead of the African Cup of Nations.

He's scored 16 since Ramadan, if you're counting. #StrawberrySyrup

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