The Men's tournament has started in the Olympics, and as I'm typing, Japan are leading gold medal favorites Spain into the last 10 minutes of the game-- it'll be done by the time I finish, but hopefully you're watching!
Newcastle United are in Portugal preparing for the next leg of their preseason preparation (matches tomorrow and Saturday) with nearly their full complement of first team players. Those who are intent on providing transfer window stories are again getting desperate linking players all over the place and hoping something sticks. . . so that's fun. Two CBs are returning from injury for NUFC and flexibility continues to look like the new team spirit (as in the new buzz word for the sound bites coming from AP) - and that's really about it for the news today. Take the jump, and see what we've turned up.
While the team is in Portugal, The Journal understands that United chiefs hope to kick-start deals for three key targets over the next few days. Mike Ashley has taken a personal interest in a deal to bring Andy Carroll back to Tyneside and United’s desire to get the deal over the line is genuine and ongoing. United chiefs remain convinced a deal can be struck and have been informed by sources close to the player that he has no future at Anfield – despite the mixed messages emanating from Merseyside.
It seems to happen to me a lot that I click into a story for one reason and end up getting the link hijacked by a different quote in the lower half of the story. Don't get me wrong, Steven Taylor getting back into training is huge for us. Of course, in our conditioned status over the summer as football supporters, transfer news is what we are automatically drawn to, so of course this is what I clipped. It was interesting to me to read "Mike Ashley has taken a personal interest in a deal to bring Andy Carroll back to Tyneside"... I'll let you all post your favorite reason why this might be so in the comments.
Streete, still just 17, is likely to make his return in the second string in the new Professional Development League. But, having already trained with the first team under Pardew, he could get his chance in the early rounds of the Capital One Cup this season. Streete could even find himself on some of the club’s Europa League trips later in the year if the Magpies get to the group stages of the competition. Pardew singled out Streete last year for praise, saying he "had a chance" but also underlined the importance of working hard.
Newcastle suffered a couple of major injuries in the reserves last year in the form of Sammy Ameobi and Remie Streete. As the quote indicates, Streete is a player that looks set to arrive on the first team stage sooner rather than later relative to his age, so this is a big return as well. With the flush out of Tamas Kadar, it seems likely that Streete and anticipated new arrival Curtis Good will comprise the first choice centre half pairing for the Reserves this year.
"I’m looking at all options," Pardew told the Gazette. "There are going to be times when we need to throw people around. "Davide Santon’s the left-back here – that’s his favourite position – but it might well be that Davide and Ryan Taylor start at right-back and left-back. "I’m keeping my options open, and pre-season’s a time to experiment, which we are doing. So far, so good."
I'm going to come out and say it: Davide Santon is going to become a divisive figure among Toon supporters this year. At times, he looks brilliant and high-level world class. At times, he looks... hapless. With our recent history of patience with players, I just see him becoming that kind of guy. Some will love him (probably myself included) and some will hate him. In the preseason, he looked much more comfortable the time that he played on the right hand side of defense, so ... well, I really don't know what to do with that. If we land Debuchy, it's going to be certain that he's locked in at the left back... either way, he's first XI.
Everton and Newcastle are two sides reportedly tracking the midfielder, who is rated at around €4million (£3.1m). Barrada admits he would jump at the chance to join either of them should they make an offer. "It is at the stage of rumours at the moment, I heard of interest from Newcastle a long time ago, the Everton one has been in the papers," he told the Moroccan media.
It seems that our player acquisition policy has an unstated part to it:
Acquire all the midfielders.
While it's possible that this is the rumor mill milling, I have to sit back and wonder sometimes how we continue to convince midfielders to come in at this point. How does that sales pitch go?
"Abdelaziz, why don't you come to Tyneside and join Newcastle United. We've only 123,357,101 midfielders so you will definitely maybe play at some point"
"Oh, ok. Where do I sign?"
NEWCASTLE United have landed in Portugal for the latest leg of their pre-season tour, where Pardew’s squad will take on Olympiakos and Braga at the Estádio Algarve. Yohan Cabaye has now joined the rest of the team, although Hatem Ben Arfa is yet to make an appearance.
ZOMG HBA ISN'T WITH THE SQUAD HE MUST BE ON THE WAY OUT!!!11ONE!!
Ehhh... there's really not much to this link, I just had to do that.
The South American has played as right-back and left-back for Argentina during his career, and all of his managers know that he is the ultimate professional when it comes to adapting to new positions. Jonas, who was used as a left winger last season and was one of the reasons why the Magpies didn’t opt for high-earner Junior Hoilett, told the Chronicle before flying out to Portugal: "I try to improve all the time. "When I get the opportunity to play in different positions, I try to do it better. "Then, if the manager needs me in a different position, I can do my best. "I have played left-back, in the midfield and in the middle of the pitch. I try to do the best to improve and to learn."
I've been on record here saying that I feel that Jonas is sometimes undervalued by the Toon Army, and I still maintain that. I don't know what else the guy can say or do to get the full recognition he deserves, but dang, man. I don't feel like he will take a place int he pantheon of Newcastle greats that he deserves and it makes me sad. The guy clearly loves the club and has been the consummate steward and servant of the club... It's fine. It's fine. He will always have the place in my heart, and that's all I have the authority to give.
Williamson said: "I can’t wait. I chat to Shola and he tells me about some of the European nights down the years. "Some of the games that the club has had at St James’ Park sound incredible. And the atmosphere is already good so European football should be even better. "I’m thoroughly looking forward to it."
I have visions of Shola gathering the team around a campfire in the locker room (don't ask... there are trees, too... it's my vision) and all of the players are sitting around the fire. Shola comes to the front of the group and someone (probably Williamson) says "Shola? Tell us of the old days and of Europe and of the brill atmospheres that come with it!" "Yes," pipes in Sameobi, "tell us again how it feels to score against Barcelona." and then Ryan Taylor asks innocently (not that he trolls 5under1and ever) "Has a makem ever scored against Barcelona?"
Hey, it makes me happy.