Sam Allardyce has talked to the Times today about getting some contracts re-signed that are running out next summer.
One priority is Nicky Butt, who is showing the form he had when at Manchester United, and whom Sam was keen to take to Bolton when Nicky was unsettled at Newcastle.
We think this would be a good deal on both sides maybe for a 2 year extension to Nicky’s contract because he can do a job for Newcastle.
Nicky Butt – contract to be extended by Newcastle
Butt is now 32 years old and in the final year of his initial 4 year contract. His increased importance in the squad under Big Sam has been justly rewarded with an invitation to start negotiations with Newcastle officials. This is what Nicky said about his contract situation:
â€œMy contract expires in the summer of 2008, but Iâ€™d like to end my career here,â€ â€œI think Iâ€™ve got a couple more years left in me yet and if I can sort out a new contract, that would be great.â€
As far as Sam Allardyce is concerned signing Nicky Butt to an extended contract is a priority as he said:
â€œWe want to push on to Nicky Butt and people like that who are in the last year of their contracts,â€
â€œThatâ€™s the next thing we have to do now that the [transfer] window is shut. Hopefully very shortly everybody will have agreed and we will have a much more settled camp.â€
It’s interesting that nothing has been mentioned about Stephen Carr or Celestine Babayaro, whose contracts also end next summer. Of course both are out injured at the moment and that has been one problem with their time at Newcastle â€“ they are injured far too much. We think Sam may try to offload both for small fees in January â€“ if he can get replacements in during that transfer window.
We also expect Steven Taylor’s position to be fixed shortly. Suggestions on Sunday that the defender, whose rapid development brought him the England Under 21 captaincy recently, would want a move away from Newcastle if he was dropped for last nightâ€™s match away to Derby County has been strongly denied by a source close to Steven – as we reported yesterday. The source said:
â€œItâ€™s nonsense – thereâ€™s absolutely no truth in it whatsoever,â€ â€œSteven would never dream of making any demands on the manager â€“ itâ€™s his decision to pick the team and his alone. Steven has always respected the managerâ€™s decision and always will.â€
â€œTo say it [yesterday] was D-Day is ridiculous. Steven wants to stay and the manager has gone on record saying he wants him to stay, so thereâ€™s no problem. This report is a complete fabrication and very hurtful to Steven.”
“Stevenâ€™s a Newcastle United supporter and playing for the club means everything to him. He has turned down the clubâ€™s first offer, but thatâ€™s normal in contract negotiations and Steven hopes to agree a new deal as quickly as possible.â€
Manager Sam Allardyce is content that competition for places, particularly in the Newcastle defense, will be fierce. The defense didn’t look as solid as usual last night but we have strength in reserve and need to get both Beye and Enrique into the back four as quickly as possible. Beye last night looked ready to play at his preferred position of right back. We expect him to start there on Sunday against West Ham at home.
â€œThat gives me a very solid foundation to build a good record of clean sheets,â€ â€œThat is the key element to win something or finish as high in the Premier League as possible. Most of the work we have done [in the transfer market] has been good business.â€
â€œThe chairman and the other lads behind the scenes have done a tremendous job to get players in. I am satisfied with the quality of the players we got in and the price that we got them for.â€
The goal we conceded last night was a bit of a fluke and wonder goal all in one. When you looked at the number of saves Harper had to make â€“ he wasn’t troubled too much apart from that one wonder strike from Kenny Miller. But Sam’s exactly right that the more clean sheets we can get the higher up the league we’ll finish. A win and a clean sheet on Sunday is exactly what we need to get back on track in the league.