It looks like we may have some positive news today on the transfer front with a likelihood that the Joey Barton deal will go through. But it also is becoming clear that we have lost the Ben Haim battle with Chelsea.
The Â£5.5million Barton deal is held up by a row over compensation between the player and City over a Â£300,000 loyalty payment. The PFA is intervening and trying to reach a swift solution â€“ when asked about the situation regarding Barton’s transfer this is what Sam had to say today:
“I’m not quite sure yet.
“Joey has gone on holiday, hopefully we’ll try to tie it off today, finally, and make sure he’s going to be a Newcastle player for next season.”
But weâ€™ve lost the race with Chelsea on Ben Haim â€“ and we just donâ€™t know why we couldnâ€™t have matched Chelseaâ€™s offer initially of â‚¤3M/year â€“ particularly when Sam knows Ben Haim well and he would play his heart out for Newcastle. This is what Allardyce told Newcastle’s official website today about the Ben Haim news:
“”It’s looking like Tal will be going to Chelsea, unfortunately.
“We have had a long, hard go, but I think the lure of the (former) champions has perhaps just pipped me at the post.”
Sam had identified the former Maccabi Tel Aviv defender as one of his top targets to strengthen a defense which has proved the club’s major weakness for a decade. Allardyce’s knowledge of Ben Haimâ€™s ability and character, their existing relationship and the fact he was available on a free transfer made him a hugely attractive target.
Well we lost him â€“ and that’s it – weâ€™ll need to move on. This is what Sam had to say today about how he now needs to shore up our defense:
“”We need to concentrate on defenders because we’re very short in that area
“We’ll try to strengthen that department by bringing in at least a couple of center-halves, a left-back and maybe a right-back. We want to have enough players, defensively-minded, to improve the Newcastle clean sheet record.
“That is going to be important. We’ve got goalscorers at the other end, with the additions of Mark Viduka and Joey Barton, but we must sort out the defensive side of the team to make sure that when we score goals, they win us three points.”
The Magpies have lodged a bid for Paris Saint-Germain defender David Rosehnal – who is also being chased by Borussia Dortmund. However we have bid around â‚¤2M for a player PSG value closer to â‚¤3.4M so there’s no agreement yet between the clubs on the price. We are also said to be pursuing Habib Beye of Marseille and Sami Hyypia of Liverpool.
We think Rosehnal and Hyypia would be excellent acquisitions for us – with Sami Hyypia providing much needed defensive experience in the squad.
It doesnâ€™t look like Sam is too interested in Curtis Davis of WBA – who is available for â‚¤10M .
Comments always welcome.