You have by now no doubt seen the reports that we are deep in negotiations to bring Vurnon Anita to St. James' Park from Ajax. The number being bandied about is £7m which seems a little high for a player (although we did pay £9m for Papiss Cisse). The speculation now surrounds Cheik Tiote and his status with the club as Anita is being viewed by Newcastle as a straight swap for the Ivorian. In trips ostensibly geared toward scouting Jan Vertonghen, Graham Carr and Alan Pardew would have had no shortage of opportunity to see Anita in action.
Vurnon Anita was in the reckoning for the Dutch Euro 2012 squad up until the final round of cuts from boss Bert van Marwijk and is a versatile player, being able to play (with varying degrees of success, mind) left back, right back and defensive midfield. He made his first team debut with Ajax at the age of 17 and took a certain amount of hold at age 20 (15 appearances). Two seasons ago, he hit is high water mark with 34 appearances between league and cup competitions and two International appearances. Manchester United and Spurs have registered interest in Anita in recent times (TalkSport) as have Marseille. This looks to be more of a Papiss Cisse-style acquisition than a Cheik Tiote-style acquisition, that is to say Vurnon Anita is not sneaking up on anyone like Cheik did when we acquired him.
Name: Vurnon Anita
Position: Defensive Midfield, Left Back, Right Back
Height: 5' 6"
Weight: 139 lbs.
Current Club: Ajax
Appearances for Current Club: 103 starts, 23 substitute
Caps for Country: 2
Anita doesn't seem to get in too much card trouble with a career high of 5 yellow cards in a season (2009-10) and 2 career red cards, but he doesn't seem to draw too many fouls either (career high of 7 in 2008-09, all over the course of 5 UEFA Cup appearances). At 5' 6" and short of 140 lbs, you have to raise the concern that he may have trouble providing the presence that Cheik Tiote (5' 9", 180 lbs) brought to our midfield, but despite that, you have to believe that Graham Carr has done his due diligence over the player and believes that he can do the job.
The arrival of a player such as Anita does not mean the imminent departure of Cheik Tiote, but many of us will be sitting here waiting for the hammer to fall, closing the rather meteoric career of a very popular player on Tyneside.
(I don't see a video right off showing Anita's ball-winning skills or any other such useful thing, so here's video of him scoring goals.. I believe this shows all 7 of his career goals for Ajax.)