CHN Friday Links: Tomorrow Will Be Exciting Edition

ENSCHEDE, NETHERLANDS - FEBRUARY 26: Luuk de Jong of Twente looks on during the Eredivisie match between FC Twente and FC Utrecht at De Grolsch Veste Stadium on February 26, 2012 in Enschede, Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

A brilliant Friday to you all - a Friday before a huge weekend of season-ending fixtures. The Championship Playoff final will happen (1500 BST Saturday) and we will know if I get my ultimate wish to see Ian Holloway back in the Premier League (respect and sympathy for Chris Hughton who I would love to see back in the PL as well). The Champions League Final will occur (1945 BST Saturday), and as it no longer directly effects Newcastle United, John can sleep well knowing that his support for any team English will not end up destroying our own Champions League hopes (in fact, it would destroy Tottenham's CL hopes and perhaps remove them as a contender for certain of our players that have been rumored to be Spurs targets. Maybe this is not a bad thing.) Also on the weekend, an Edinburgh derby will be contested for the Scottish Cup (also 1500 BST Saturday), the first time since 1895/96 the two squads have met in the final of this particular competition. Plenty of excitement tomorrow - but that's all non-Newcastle.

Today's news- Davide Santon, Luuk de Jong rumors strengthen just a tad, James Tavernier offered new contract and Newcastle's summer tour plans look to be on the verge of being set. Take the jump and let's see what's going on!

Team Spirit!

Kevin Nolan: Hitting the heights with West Ham - Profiles - People - The Independent

Just under two years prior to then he famously stood up in the tight confines of the away dressing room at Leyton Orient following a 6-1 defeat in a pre-season friendly for Newcastle. "Right, this can't go on," he said. "I have never been so embarrassed on a football pitch. You're either in or you're out. We need everyone to pull together to turn this club around and if you don't want to do that, and you want to leave, then put your hand up and we'll help find you somewhere else." Four players raised their arms. As it turned out, five from that room left. Newcastle had found team spirit and incredibly, from that starting point, on the back of a draining relegation campaign, came the Championship title, then came a strong return season in the top flight. Nolan scored 12 goals and talks for a new, extended deal started. And then stalled. Loyalty and trust had diminished. "The most disappointing thing was thinking I was going to be at the club for a long, long time and that I would be part of something at the club, signing off to make sure we were ready for next season and a couple of days later, hang on a minute, what was on the table is now off the table.

The beginnings of team spirit! I don't remember feeling anger when Kevin Nolan was sold... at least not at the player. I think I was mostly disappointed. We'll never know what happens in the board room between players and the club (see the situation involving the Benign Ponytail), but Kevin is not the first to suggest that it's not all straightforward with puppies and rainbows. I know, he said/he said... but still. I would like to wish Kevin luck tomorrow, but I can't because a) I need more Ian Holloway, b) I don't care too much for West Ham and c) I don't care too much for Sam Allardyce.

A Case For The Defense

Newcastle ready to sign Nathaniel Clyne the Crystal Palace full-back and go to a tribunal over his fee - Mirror Online

Palace may ask £5million for their talented right-back but the Geordies are prepared to go to a tribunal over his valuation

This seems to be a little odd unless Graham Carr realllly rates this player. It could be a bit of sabre rattling in negotiation. We'll have to wait and see. While we're briefly touching on Championship defenders, there is at least one site out there digging up the Adrian Mariappa connection... ignore it. Alan Pardew said in January that if Mariappa did not come then, he would not come to the club ever, and we mustn't forget that the "offers" were just a sham anyway so that the club could say "Hey, we tried to get a CB!" in January.

Santon could solve right-back problems (From The Northern Echo)

Santon, who has seven caps for Italy, is certainly open to the idea of playing right-back. He said: "If the manager asked me to play either left-back or right-back I'd be happy because I can play both positions. "Playing at right-back is something I'd be open to. As to my preference, it just depends on the game. I just like to get forward, so whichever position allows me to get forward more I prefer."

I think that we here at CHN have widely anticipated that Davide Santon would end up on the right side of Alan Pardew's defense. As long as we get a true left back in to replace him, I'm good with it. It is fun to watch Davide bombing forward, and when he gets dispossessed, he kills himself to get back and try to recover... unlike a certain right back who is perhaps a little slow to chase back when being dispossessed.

James Tavernier set for new deal at Newcastle United - Sport - Shields Gazette

With Simpson’s future in the balance – the 25-year-old is yet to agree a new contract with his present deal running out next year – Tavernier could find himself closer to first-team action next season, when Pardew will need a bigger squad to cope with the demands of European football. Speaking in March, Tavernier told the Gazette: "My main aim’s still to play in the first team (at Newcastle), and that’s what I want to be doing as soon as possible,"

We may all remember where we were when The Great Reserves Massacre of 2012 happened. James Tavernier is one of the lone survivors, and with rather glowing reviews at that. He'll be in the senior setup next year for sure and could potentially have chances to show us exactly what the coaching staff are seeing with him to rate him as highly as they do. Good luck to you, James!

The Midfield, or Let's Recreate A Problem That Is Likely Going To Cost Us Two Player This Summer

Newcastle United on alert as midfielder heads towards Bolton exit - Football - Shields Gazette

Bolton manager Owen Coyle doesn’t want to lose Davies, who he has likened to Paul Gascoigne as a player. But the financial consequences of relegation will bite at the Reebok Stadium this summer, and the former England youth international is one of the club’s most saleable assets.

Mark Davies is a player that would come with a huge reputation and very high regard (much like Dan Gosling?), but he would unless we lose both Cheik Tiote and Yohan Cabaye would slot back into a midfield where we have more players than we can play (particularly if we stay with a 4-3-3 system next season). I'm always on board for acquiring great players, but my feeling is that if Mark Davies dons the black-and-whites, we'll have lost a player I don't want to lose... so I'm hoping just a little that he doesn't end up on Tyneside.

Alan Pardew: Marveaux will be like a new signing - NUFC News - Newcastle United - ChronicleLive

ALAN PARDEW believes he already has one marquee signing wrapped up in time for next season who is good enough to take the Premier League by storm. And, no, you didn’t miss an unveiling at St James’ Park of the club’s newest acquisition. He was, in fact, talking about Sylvain Marveaux. The Newcastle United boss will have had to frustratingly wait a whole year before getting the chance to properly unleash a player on the English game who has almost become a forgotten man.

Man I hope Sylvain can stay healthy. Early in the season we looked a much different side when he was playing... and he'd provide an injection of pace on the left that would be quite useful.

Moving Forward

Dutch striker interesting Magpies (From The Northern Echo)

NEWCASTLE UNITED have made Dutch international Luuk De Jong a leading candidate to replace Demba Ba should the Senegalese striker depart this summer. De Jong has been heavily linked with a number of clubs after a scintillating season with FC Twente which has seen him grab 25 goals in the Eredivisie. The Magpies, who have been visitors to the Enschede outfit to keep an eye on defender Douglas, have been hugely impressed by the 21-year-old's ability and future potential.

Luuk de Jong certainly fits the bill for what we need in a striker, mostly the fact that he would not be gone for the ACON. His arrival would mean Demba Ba's departure, so it would be bittersweet at best... not sure where I come down on that specifically, but a 21-year-old with de Jong's talent would never be a bad thing to have.

NUFC are lined up for Johannesburg tournament - NUFC News - Newcastle United - ChronicleLive

The Sowetan has reported that organisers behind the biggest pre-season tournament in the whole of Africa were confident that Europa-League bound Newcastle would accept their offer. It said: "Negotiations are at an advanced stage between the organisers and management of Newcastle United. "The organisers are also toying with the idea of getting Tottenham Hotspur back in the tournament because they are going back to its original format of four clubs."

South Africa would kind of rule out any potential summer travel plans to see the Toon for me, but with a £750,000 payday as incentive, I can certainly understand their accepting that invitation.

NUFC survey reveals your verdict on Mike Ashley - Chronicle News - News - ChronicleLive

Five years after he seized control at St James’ Park, our exclusive on-line survey has revealed the tide is turning on the billionaire sports tycoon. More than 2,000 people logged on to take part in our end of season poll and voice their views on Newcastle’s season. And – in a sneak preview of our full survey results – the Chronicle can reveal more than 65% of supporters who took part in the probe said their opinion of the Sports Direct owner had gone up.

It's not surprising at all to see this number... but it certainly doesn't take into account that the start point in some supporters' estimation was slightly lower than something you might scrape off the bottom of your shoe with a stick. He has come up some in my estimation, but I will still be very very slow to trust him.

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