Alan Pardew has confirmed a report from the Daily Mail that Newcastle have agreed with Manchester United on a deal to bring 22 year-old winger Gabriel Obertan to Tyneside. The deal is reportedly worth 5 years, with sources saying the transfer fee was around £3 million. Obertan, a former student at the prestigious Clairefontaine Academy (of which Hatem Ben Arfa is also an alum), moved to Man Utd from Bordeaux in 2009 and never really spent much time with the first team. Obertan is expected to arrive in Newcastle to take a medical and complete the deal on Monday.
Read on for Pardew's remarks on his newest signing.
Pardew had the following to say about Obertan: (H/T to Rockets4LIFE for the audio link)
We've brought in somebody who can control the game in Yohan Cabaye, and Obertan will give us genuine pace...it was a problem for us, hitting teams on the break, and he's going to offer us that. He hasn't had many opportunities at Man United, and I think he'll get more opportunities here. His confidence with that, and he's become a stronger, more physical player at Man United.
So it sounds like Obertan will at least be given a chance to crack the first team, though it's hard to imagine him jumping right in at Arsenal in just a week's time. There are reports suggesting that he is capable of playing in the center of midfield or even at striker, but his primary position is right wing. If a Joey Barton replacement is needed, I suppose he's right here.
On one hand, it's easy to get excited about this signing. Obertan's primary strength is certainly pace, and as Pardew notes, this team did horribly on the break last season: dead last, with one goal. Maybe adding another to the stable of French youngsters is a shrewd move, especially since most of the fee will be covered by the sale of Wayne Routledge to Swansea. On the other hand, cautionary tales like Alan Smith spring to mind. Maybe it's not fair, especially since Obertan was never really handed a chance at Old Trafford, but it's possible that he'll provide nothing more than depth. On the whole, I'm cautiously optimistic. What about you?