7. What current players under contract would you like to see sold this summer?
Alan Hoffmann (@AlanHoffmann): The name I keep seeing pop up to be sold is Jonas, and I'd agree with that. He's under performed a lot this season. He hasn't necessarily been bad all year, but we aren't getting the production from him that we need. Good on Jonas for sticking with the club through relegation and helping us get back, but he isn't performing up to standard now.
Jim McMeachin (@CHNOSotP): We began to discuss this a little bit during the podcast, and I don't necessarily have a more focused answer than I did then. I think that it makes sense to move one of Cabaye/Anita/Tiote - and we talked that through to a decent sounding end in the podcast (Listen to it. Do it.) although I would not necessarily be looking forward to a world without any of the three of those players. I could see moving Jonas Gutierrez, although again you're talking about a player who I have a great fondness for (and who I expect to be in much better form next year than this year)... but I would much rather have a left side of Marveaux/Gouffran than just about any other combination that we can put together with the current squad - although selling Jonas would completely depend on Shane Ferguson's readiness (or lack thereof). Perhaps the closest to the exit door is Gabriel Obertan, although I stand by my assertion that he has yet to be used in what I feel could be his strongest position (roughly as a number 10). I'd sure like to see this happen, and it's not like we don't need a player to try to fill that role...
John Murphy (@johnjmurphy17): He has been my favorite Magpie since he joined the club, but Jonas's time has come in the black and white. He had his worst year by far this season, and seemed slow, frustrated, and generally ineffective. I think his price would still be solid, and he would be happy moving to Italy or back to South America. It's time to employ Marveaux, Fergie, and Gouffron in more dramatic ways, so Jonas's departure would allow that freedom in the lineup. I also think it's time we just threw our hands up and said screw it on the Dan Gosling experiment.
My second departure won't be popular, but I think it's time the back line evolved past Colo. His antics in January, I thought, we very underplayed by everyone involved, but it seemed all of the statements and rumors that were floating around were absurd. If we wants to leave, he should be granted that right. We can demand a high price for him and move on accordingly.
Robert Bishop (@BishopSBN): I'm not a believer in addition by subtraction. It's a fallacy to believe that selling a player you don't like will improve the team. For that reason, there really isn't anybody that I necessarily want to see gone, but I advocate selling any player that receives a bid higher than his valuation, short of Tim Krul, Fabricio Coloccini, Papiss Cisse (because of the positional need), and perhaps one of Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye. That means either HBA or Cabaye is likely out the door, as well as Davide Santon and one or two others. Obviously, I only support their sales if the money is immediately reinvested - not a given for Mike Ashley's Newcastle United.
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8. How would you prioritize Newcastle's needs in the transfer window this summer? What would constitute a success?
Callum: I think we need another RB, two centre backs, two wingers and a top, top striker (Andy Carroll). That for me would be a success.
Alan: Like I said above, I think we need to find someone to play up front with Cisse that can help him maximize his potential. We may also need a stout defender should Coloccini leave. I think tour French signings will do us a lot of good next season, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be aggressive in signing some new players. I think those should be our two main targets, and then if we can add depth, it would be great. No European competition to worry about, but wouldn't it be nice to have some runs in the FA Cup?
Jim: Excepting any movement out, I think it goes something like this 1) A physical presence to pair with/play behind Papiss Cissé (or a more creative number 10 type) that can also score goals, 2) Another top striker, 3) A first-team ready center back in anticipation of Coloccini leaving after this upcoming season. Ultimately, success will have to be defined as addressing whatever it is that Alan Pardew wants to do tactically. Clearly he is not going to shift his ideas to fit the players that he has at his disposal, so I guess it'll have to work the other way around.
John: If Jonas leaves, we'd need another winger for insurance. A cheap, young player would be nice. If Colocinni leaves, then CB goes from "big" issue to "glaring" issue. That's OK as long we can bring in some proven talent on the back line. Maybe some older Frenchmen currently disillusioned with their club would be a nice fit. I think we also need to go out and get Cisse a partner, but given that strikers are ALWAYS at a premium, that's going to be difficult. Success, to me, would be minimal departures, a return to health, a smooth transition of the armband between Colo and Cabaye, and some more building blocks to work with Steven Taylor.
Robert: Number one is a striker, preferably one that will develop chemistry with Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa to link the midfield with the final third. Number two is squad depth everywhere. Number three is another striker. A net gain of at least 2 strikers, 1 midfielder, and 2 defenders is a success for me - nothing less. This team needs Premier League ready players, European competition or no.
9. Should Alan Pardew return as manager in July?
Callum: One word: No.
Alan: I say yes, just because of all the injury woes that plagued Newcastle. It's hard to manage around that. That said, Newcastle have to perform better from the get-go next season. If we find ourselves digging us a hole early in the season. it may be time for a change. I think he deserves some credit for the job he did a year ago, but any goodwill that he had built up is likely gone. I don't mean to say that Newcastle have to come out of the gates blazing next year, but they have to show significant improvement, or we may be looking at an October sacking.
Jim: I've become completely ambivalent to this situation. I'm not going to be bothered if he goes. I'm not going to be bothered if he stays. I suppose that with a whole summer with the expanded squad, it's worth it to give him a shot to at least get the season started... with a pretty short leash and a backup plan (stop laughing) in the front of our minds.
John: Yes. Stability is a good thing. No need to beat a dead horse there. Fergie didn't win his first silverware until his fourth year at MUFC (against Pardew in the FA Cup, coincidentally), so I think patience is key. I love our silver fox. SEVEN MORE YEARS!
Robert: Callum and I debated this a few weeks ago, and I'll stand by my conclusion. I wish I had made the stability argument a bit better though: It's not about blindly standing by the manager when things have gone wrong for the sake of some buzzword, it's about giving him enough time to see his vision realized. I believe Alan Pardew deserves another year to prove that his long-term plan is a viable one.
My thanks to Callum, Alan, Jim, and John for participating in this exercise with me.