I was ready to quit on this whole transfer window thing last night as a fairly prominent journalist covering Newcastle United tried to set up a story/interview of Hatem Ben Arfa by teasing that he (HBA) said he wanted to leave, then got made when people took it that way and called shenanigans. It seems that in the long run, it has come to exactly what you could figure it did. PSG are a buying club with money behind them. HBA grew up as a supporter. If Newcastle don't do well in the second half of the season, you would expect a player like HBA to be interested "if" an offer was in play. So we can step off the ledge on that one.
An Argentine outlet has reported that Captain Colo's contract is to be cancelled tomorrow clearing the way for his return to his homeland to play for San Lorenzo. There is to be a meeting between Fabricio and Newcastle representatives, but the likelihood that this meeting will result in a cancelling of the contract has got to be somewhere in the vicinity of "snowball's chance in hell". If somehow his contract does get cancelled (again, he is a salable asset at 30 y/o and with 3+ years left on his contract... letting him out on a free would be baffling at best), it may be time to step back up to the ledge. On the evidence of 4 previous windows, we would then end up with a CB pairing of Williamson/Taylor, and if anyone got hurt, you're looking at (Willo/Saylor)/Perch or (Willo/Saylor)/Simpson. You're welcome for the visual.
So Loïc Rémy has gone to QPR... Now what?
Now what is that the focus shifts most squarely onto Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - although reports are suggesting that he will not leave St. Etienne until the summer. While the 23-year-old would be an exciting purchase and would fit in to what it appears Alan Pardew is heading for formation-wise (if he were employed in the middle of the "3" in 4-2-3-1 ... but he could succeed on the outside of the 4-3-3 as well), you have to feel that if a move to Newcastle doesn't materialize sooner rather than later, his next stop will be at a club with more assets than our own such as one of the Manchesters or Fiorentina who have all been rumored to be interested in the player.
So Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is not an option... Now what?
Unlinked reports were floating around the Twitter regarding Bordeaux forward Yoan Gouffran being offered at around £3m to Arsenal. Gouffran's career has been slightly "in the woods" lately, but he is still a player who has a boat load of talent and would be a pretty easy one to take a flyer on at the price. Primarily a central striker, he is also able to play the wings... presumably he would also be able to play the center in the "3" of the 4-2-3-1 although it is rarely listed as a 'position he can play". 8 goals in 19 matches is not exactly inspiring form (indeed, 64 goals in 248 career matches is not necessarily what you'd be expecting for a player whose skill set includes "finishing with both feet"). On strength of reputation, Gouffran could be considered an upgrade over a Sylvain Marveaux, I suppose, but I'm not sold. Here's some two footed finishing.
If not Gouffran, then who?
It gets a little less clear as far a targets past this point. New suggestions have included Melvut Erdinç, who will seemingly be forever connected with us and never be brought in or Bafétimbi Gomis, in whom we were rumored to have interest at one point some time back. This rumor comes back at an odd time as Gomis is not a player comparable in style to Gouffran, Aubameyang or Rémy... he is a straight out striker. A quite good one, actually. I would be shocked if Newcastle
made completed a move for Gomis... in a good way, of course.
That's all well and good... but all attackers?
Well no, not exactly.
There are reports that we have made an offer for 20 year old Massadio Haidara of Nancy. The French Senegalese defender has played at U19, U20 and U21 level for France, but is strictly a left back. If you are the sky is falling type, you can combine this rumor with the repeated attempts from Italy to unsettle Davide Santon to create a worst-case scenario. I don't think I will be. There is the small matter of the player's own interest in and from Italy, however.
Nancy left-back Massadio Haidara is on the verge of a move to Roma, according to reports.
French football journalist Johann Crochet has told romagiallorossa.it that the 20-year-old has entered talks with the capital club, and could move over the winter transfer window.
"Haidara has been offered to Roma, that's for sure," he told the website. "The guy is a powerful left-back, very fast and very good in attack.
He's a tidy player and would be an awesome acquisition, but even though he is a defender, I'd prefer one somewhere in the two slots to the right of his preferred position.
Some very tenuous sources have suggested that Newcastle are back in the frame for France international CB Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa. This is another player that would be a tidy pick up, but Arsenal has long held interest in him and there is a bit of a mutual admiration society between the player and Manchester Red... It'd be great, but I don't see it happening.
Don't forget that we were rumored to have offered on Gaëtan Bong - also a left back but one that ostensibly is able to play centrally. I saw the name Douglas slide across my desk at some point recently, but you have to figure that if we were still in on him, the rumor mill would have pumped it out in volume by now.
Even the rumor mill sucks at this point. The club are in a rather dangerous spot just now with regard to the window... Pardew's insistence that we're "in on 3 or 4 more" if we didn't get Rémy will set up an expectation with the support (and the players, surely) that if it is not met could have a demoralizing effect on the club if the January window slams shut with no further activity.