The players whose contracts are up for renewal this summer include those of Michael Owen, Nicky Butt, Steve Harper, Shola Ameobi and Mark Viduka.
Joe Kinnear – tough contract talks coming up
And one thing Joe Kinnear will need to start looking at, presumably in tandem with Dennis Wise, is working out who he wants to offer new contracts to.
Contracts are the responsibility of Dennis Wise, but that will hardly work too well, when players know Dennis is hardly a huge favorite with Newcastle fans right now. The decision on whether to offer them extensions at all, will presumably be on the recommendation of Joe Kinnear.
If indeed Joe’s deal is extended through the end of the season that will be good news at least for the players, who will at least get a little bit of stability, at least through the end of the season.
Indeed, if Joe can pull Newcastle up the league into a decent ending position, and the club is sold in the summer, Joe may even get an extension for a season or two from the new owners, once they are installed.
That would give a little sense of stability at the club if nothing else, but Joe would need to do very well for that to become reality.
Contract offers to Nicky Butt, Steve Harper and Shola Ameobi would be probably be accepted by the players. Steve and Shola are local lads and would love to stay at the club, and Nicky Butt seems resigned that Newcastle will always be somewhat unstable but he still wants to stay on Tyneside.
Remember since Bobby Robson signed Nicky in the summer of 2004, Newcastle have had six managers in Bobby, Graeme Souness, Glenn Roeder, Big Sam, Kevin Keegan and Joe Kinnear. Six managers in four years, and before that, at Manchester United he had only ever worked for one manager, Alex Ferguson – what a contrast.
The contract difficulties will likely be with captain Michael Owen and Mark Viduka. With Michael, Newcastle cannot even tell him who the new owners will be and who the new permanent manager will be, and it will largely depend on what Michael thinks about all of this.
It seems like the club want him to sign a one year extension until things get sorted out, but Michael will probably wait to see what offers come in during January.
As far as Mark Viduka is concerned the club have a one year option on the player, and Newcastle will need to decide if they want to take that option. The problem with Mark is he’s never available for too many games because of injury, and the club will need to weigh that up against his playing record at the club, which is quite good.
But Owen and Viduka remain the uncertainties, with Michael the biggest one of all.
What do you think?