I will be glad when the Olympic Games start at the end of this week. At least there will be real, factual news to ingest even if it's not related directly to Newcastle United. It could be that the Games provide cover for a flurry of transfer activity - which would also be great - but at the very least it will get us almost two weeks closer to the start of the season and into a time frame in which any moves that are going to happen are going to have to be dealt with in earnest by all clubs involved.
Your Demba Ba release clause countdown:
"The experienced players all looked good, definitely in front of where we were last year, and I thought the young players, and Sammy Ameobi and Tavernier in particular, were outstanding. "Mehdi got his first goal. Mehdi’s got a lot to learn, but he has got ability. He showed that – it was a great goal. "And Haris (Vuckic) showed his qualities. They’re the players that this tour is all about. "The senior players are ready, but the younger players are showing they’ve got quality to play at this level."
It was a given that we would see the young fringe players quite a bit in the early preseason, and they certainly acquitted themselves pretty well. It seems pretty certain that they're going to get their chance, perhaps as early as the Europa League play-off... which is a little scary. It was good to see James Tavernier relatively solid in the center of defense with Captain Colo as AP has said he sees Tav's future there, but I wonder if he will look quite as good next to Mike Williamson? Coloccini has a good habit of covering up some of the warts on his partner in the center of defense...
Pardew was impressed with Gosling’s performance in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Fenerbahce in Austria – and his work on the training field during the club’s pre-season tour. "That was the best I think Dan Gosling has played for a long while," Pardew told the Gazette. "Forget about the game, he’s also been great in training and in and around the team. "He’s going to be important to us next year, and with a bit of luck he’ll make a breakthrough like Ryan did. He was very good."
I sure hope that Dan Gosling has the breakthrough year that he will certainly be hoping for. I have to wonder, though, what the situation really is with him. While we have glaring needs at CB and Striker, we seem bent on cornering the market on CM players. Of course, by the same token, the club allowed Danny Guthrie (who looked more than serviceable last season) to leave in order to open up competition in the center midfield, so what do I know?
With Gael Bigirimana and Romain Amalfitano already on board, Waddle told the Chronicle: "They have made a couple of acquisitions and they will make a couple more. "I think that will happen. Last year was very successful, they had a terrific season. "If you go for the same XI without adding to the squad complacency can creep in. "That’s the key in football. You want your players to be bang at it. It’s not about having one good year, you want them to do three or four before they get moved on.
I've added the emphasis in this quote because it is a belief that I (or I guess any sensible person) has regarding where the club needs to be. While the signs are slowly beginning to turn towards suggesting that this is the direction that we are heading so far as selling players on, the Toon Army will be understandably cautious in believing it until it is so. There are signs, though- this will be Cheik Tiote's third season on Tyneside and he is still here despite rumored interest from Sky6 clubs. At any rate, Chris Waddle makes it in because of two rules: 1) Any former Toon legend who talks gets a link, and 2) I like what he said.
Key to Newcastle’s stance is the fact Liverpool’s new manager Brendan Rodgers has publicly indicated he wants to move Carroll on, which has greatly weakened his club’s hand in negotiations. There has been no progress in talks since Newcastle made their first tentative loan offer last weekend. That initial declaration of interest was designed to unsettle Carroll, who has always been receptive to a return to his hometown club.
The more this story sticks around, the more I have to think about it. I have already reconciled myself to Carroll's potential return to Newcastle. I don't think that a move anywhere is going to happen - I think some of the rumored clubs will be priced out by his £80,000/wk wages (although as Alan Smith and his own £80k contract has been moved on, it can't be argued there's not wage space) while others just don't really make sense for him (there are those that argue that we are one of those, but I think there is a reasonable, viable, empirical line of thought that would debunk that to a certain extent). Whatever happens, it really does have to be agreed that Newcastle will be perfectly happy to wait and see. If we don't bring him home, there is no loss as we don't have him anyway. If we do, and he buys into the current philosophy, does what he's asked to do and regains form, then maybe at the end of it all, we can move him on for £35m again.
Ba’s set-fee release clause expires next week, but that does not protect Newcastle for the remainder of the transfer window. And while United have held talks with Ba’s representatives over a possible new deal, they will continue to look at the long-term picture on Tyneside.
There is starting to be a veeerrrrry slow trickle of stories regarding Loic Remy and Newcastle. Not just enough to register firmly on the transfer radar, but enough to keep an eye on. With a rumored price tag of around £15m, a move for Remy would certainly be an either/or with a move for Carroll, but what does seem pretty evident at this point is that there was £15m or so set aside in the transfer kitty specifically designated for an attacking player.