News yesterday that Mark Viduka, the 33 year-old Australian, who spends 90% of his time in the injury room these days, is threatening to play again for Newcastle, before his contract expires in the summer.
Mark Viduka - recovering from Achilles problems
This is not personal with Mark, because we know he’a a good guy, but he’s really not up to playing these days physically, and with just one abortive start for Newcastle this whole season, he is hardly earning his wages at the club.
However, the news is that he has a chance of returning next month should he suffer no setbacks, but Mark requires a good few games, once he’s physically fit, to get back to full sharpness, so we’ll not hold our breath that he can help Newcastle in the relegation battle.
Chris Hughton talked about Mark’s condition with the local Shield’s Gazette yesterday:
“Mark’s still on rehab, and he’s still one that we’re assessing,” “We’re hopeful he’ll be back in two weeks – that is if he has no setbacks.”
“Mark’s one who, because of the type of player that he is, whatever period he’s back for it will be a good thing.”
“However quickly we can get him back it’s worth it, because of the type of quality that he has, but we’re also wary that it’s a balancing act of being fit and being ready for the vigours of the important games.”
There’s now no way that Newcastle will renew Mark’s £60K/week deal, and the club has to be careful about these free agent deals in the future, that we don’t vastly overpay for a players’ services.
We expect that Mark has already been told his contract will not be renewed, and he may well go home to Australia to finish his career there.
That’s where Mark started in 1995 with the Melbourne Knights, scoring 40 goals in 49 games before moving to NK Dinamo Zagreb in 1998, where he scored 40 goals in 81 games, and then of course he moved to Celtic in 1998, where he scored 30 goals in 37 games, and then went onto Leeds in 2000.
There’s little doubt in his prime, Mark was one terrific striker.