The first Tetris pieces are starting to fall in the early days of the British transfer window (Gylfi Sigurdsson being one of the latest, completing a move to Spurs), although predictably none of those pieces are quite yet falling in at St. James' Park. The club are returning for pre-season training, however, so the stories are picking up just a tiny bit starting with some of the not quite as big names who report ahead of the star men by a little bit.
I've seen it reported that Derek Llambias has left Enschede for Argentina (reportedly seeking the signatures of two young players), so read into that what you will... the stories now are indicating that Luuk de Jong is more likely to head to Moenchengladbach than Tyneside... but a day or two ago they were the other way around. Douglas is a bit of a stickier matter, however... his desire for citizenship in Holland apparently outweighing his breakneck desire to get out of Holland. . . go figure.
Again, there's some words floating around out there, but no real news on the transfer front (we're still "on the verge" of signing Matthieu Debuchy)... so lets get to stories about players who have been or are on Tyneside.
"When he first came, I’d lost my way a little bit, but he gave me a chance to prove myself and work hard. "That’s the biggest compliment I can pay him. "When I came here he judged me on how did I in training, and how I was about the place. "If you’re getting judged on merit, that’s all you can ask. "That’s all any player wants.
This is a quote about Elliott and Pardew's time at Charlton Athletic (and sadly as close as any quote gets to explaining the headline...). I'm not really sure what to make of this- the relationship is clearly established yet some people can look like all-stars in training then not cut the mustard on game day. I submit Exhibit A for the prosecution. At any rate, it seems pretty clear that Elliott is going to be the preferred number 2 behind Tim Krul, and that leaves me considerably more nervous than I was hoping to be over the next year. Of course, perhaps he can do whatever he did with Pardew to change his mind on the heels of a poor first meeting between he and I.
"I've missed a couple of the pre-seasons in my career and the football season after hasn't gone the way I'd like it. You pick up little niggles here and there and I think to have a good season you have to complete the pre-season first. "That's the main aim for the club, to get through pre-season pretty much injury-free."
Predictably, early arrivals at pre-season aren't grouching too much. Here's to Perchinho and hoping that he can replicate his late-season form and not revert back to early season edge of disaster James Perch.
Demba Ba will return to the club tomorrow while Papiss Cisse is back next week with both expected to join the club on their tour of Germany and Austria. Shola Ameobi and Sammy Ameobi will also be expected to get their fair share of games in pre-season, leaving just Ranger and Xisco as the club’s only other senior strikers. Xisco wants to leave Newcastle after a four-year nightmare in England but must report for pre-season training this week and could feature in the opening game against Chemnitz on Friday week.
I've got two reactions on this one... first- the fact that Nile Ranger is still on the books at Newcastle tells us that he ahd best make this opportunity work as no one seems willing to take on his off-the-field baggage. Tellingly, not even clubs that he's spent appreciable time at on loan are in. Perhaps the club's valuation is too high, but that seems unlikely.
Second - Xisco's "four-year nightmare in England". Isn't this being overly dramatic? In order for him to have had a nightmare in England, he'd have actually had to have spent time in England as opposed to earning a paycheck in England while playing in Spain. I should be more sympathetic, though. That's got to be a tax nightmare.
He said today: "Last season I played some of the best football of my career, but no matter how well I played someone else would come in. "I’m excited to get going now after being part of a great bunch of lads at Newcastle United for the last four years.
I have mixed feelings about Guthrie's departure. On one hand he did have some very good individual performances. On the other hand, he never really looked like truly meshing with either Yohan Cabaye or Cheik Tiote when he was playing in the spot of one or the other. Perhaps in a different year the individual performances would have been enough to stick... but in a year built on team spirit and duct tape, it's not surprising that it worked out the way it did. Sometimes "the sum is greater than the parts" outweighs individual efforts (although it would be hard to argue his place above Cheik or Yohan anyway as both had scorchers last year).