I have lately seen the rumors of Leon Best to Blackburn Rovers, and I am saddened. It is not necessarily his departure that makes me sad but his destination. I'd have rather seen him move on to Celtic than Blackburn. Either way, good luck to Leon with his next stop- you could never question his heart or his commitment to the club, and I will always maintain that he was integral in Demba Ba's goalscoring form from the first half of the season. The good news is that if Demba does stay and does in fact need the partnership in the manner that he had with Leon, Shola could play the same way and bring perhaps a bit more danger with him.
The actual news surrounding the club is pretty slow as we are heading towards the report date for the clubs preseason preparations and in some ways, it's a case of the more things change the more they stay the same- familiar story lines creep back in. Let's take the jump and I'll ease back into trying to be a productive contributor to our community.
"We haven't lost anybody yet, despite all of the speculation," he told the Newcastle Evening Chronicle. "We're working to bring a couple of people to improve the squad. "Mike [Ashley] has made it clear he is committed to the club and we are working through the process of bringing players in. Myself and Graham Carr are keeping an eye on the players we have been tracking during Euro 2012 and seeing how they have performed."
Reading this, I was hit with a couple of immediate reactions:
- The search for a center back is ... umm... troubling. I'm not yet ready to fly off into the deep end about it (although it will come if we don't manage to bring in any quality at the position...), but to this point, things with regard to this situation are feeling hauntingly familiar. Although I trust him explicitly, heading into our European Adventure this season riding on a hope from Graham Carr is not how I was hoping to charge forward... if we we even get that much.
- I believe that the new "team spirit" buzz word sound bite is going to be "Mike Ashley is committed to the club". Fine fine. Buy me a CB.
Cabaye, however, insists his pal’s spirits remain strong, and denied suggestions that rifts in the Les Blues camp – including an argument between Olivier Giroud and Samir Nasri – were responsible for their poor performances in Poland and Ukraine. "Hatem is his own character, and is not always easy," admitted Cabaye. "And in the heat of the moment, he may have said things he now regrets. "However, he is in good spirits now. I left him yesterday and his morale was good.
I'm going to be honest.. I wasn't too troubled by the news of the locker room bust up involving HBA. I wasn't too surprised, either, that he did not set the world on fire at Euro 2012. I believe that whatever formula Alan Pardew has found in his care and feeding of Hatem will work and we'll not have any back sliding with him this season as a result. There's some old expression about if you love the rose you have to love the thorn- and I'm settled with what HBA is.
Scottish Premier League champions Celtic have made it clear they want to make his loan move to Parkhead permanent, with a £2m move mooted for several months. However, Southampton and West Ham are also understood to be keen on signing the 6ft 7in keeper. Forster has always maintained he would be prepared to quit Newcastle unless he is No 1. But he is yet to make a first-team appearance at competitive level, despite several bench appearances in the Premier League. The last time Forster played for the Magpies was during last year’s pre-season fixtures before making the move north to Celtic for the title-winning campaign.
Much like last year, Fraser Forster is a man without a role that Newcastle United seem to refuse to shift. I'm not sure where this all will ultimately shake out, but there is plenty of room to speculate about the GK position. Clearly Tim Krul is the #1, but it clouds up a bit after that. The club have demonstrated that they have absolutely 0 intention of playing Steve Harper which leaves Rob Elliott and Jak Alnwick behind Krul with Fraser. With the European campaign looming, there are matches for the backup keeper this year, but probably not a great many (most likely confined to League and FA Cup matches) which is not likely to keep Forster happy. Playing Elliott will not make me happy. So... is the option Alnwick? It's hard to tell... the Reserves were leaking goals like a sieve, but it was a group of players that were largely told that they had no future at the club. At any rate, it's almost certain not to be Alnwick in the #2 role (at least not yet).
Somehow getting Fraser Forster happy to stay at Newcastle is clearly the best option. Although it was in the SPL, he's had two straight seasons of wearing the gloves for Celtic- in that time he has acquired a decent amount of European football experience- something that only Steve Harper could bring to the #2 slot. Ultimately, it will likely work out that Fraser goes back on loan again and the club will put Elliott in the #2 slot... but my soul will cry.