News late today that Wigan and England Under 21 Internal left back Leighton Baines will not â€“ after all â€“ be arriving on Tyneside. The reason is two-fold – Wigan is asking too much at â‚¤5M – and Baines is too short for Sam who will be looking at taller full backs to bring in at Newcastle.
Baines is one of five players we have been following for almost three weeks thinking all six would eventually arrive on Tyneside. The other five are Viduka, Barton, Ben Haim, Rosehnal and Derek Boateng.
Newcastle believe the price Wigan is asking is too high but coupled with the fee Big Sam has recently concluded that one of the reasons we conceded goals last season was because of the height of the full backs. Baines is about 5â€™7â€. Thatâ€™s not good news for Nobby Solano either who is 5â€™8â€ but nevertheless just signed a one year deal today with Newcastle.
It is good for some of our younger players like Ramage, Huntington and Edgar all of whom are over 6â€™ tall and have played full back before. We do expect most of these youngsters (except Ramage) to be shipped out on loan to Championship sides next season. Letâ€™s make sure that when we are reported to be after full-backs in the press we check their height.
Bakari Sagna, the French left back who plays for Auxerre – who we are reportedly interested in – is 176 cm tall – and we worked that out as 5′ 9.26″ (approximately). So we suppose that’s tall enough? Of course it also depends how good they are in the air – coupled with their height.
Allardyce must have been working over-time on not only the transfers but working out what really is needed in defense. Hopefully heâ€™s also been working on how we get so many injuries. This is some proof of how Sam uses science to improve the team â€“ in this case to understand better why we conceded too many goals last season.
Itâ€™s going to be fascinating to see what else Sam and his backroom staff do during the pre-season – to use science to improve the team.