Leon Best’s form in front of goal, since he was signed from Coventry City, has given both the player and his manager some problems.
Leon Best – yet to score for Newcastle
The fact we still need a proven striker for next season, when we already have Best, Ameobi, Carroll, Lovenkrands and young Ranger vying for the striker positions, suggests that Best was not a good buy.
If Best had come on loan as Marlon Harewood did, then we wouldn’t extend his loan deal or buy him in the summer, just as the club is very unlikely to buy Fitz Hall.
Since we brought in a striker in January, surely he should have been good enough, but Best has not set Newcastle on fire, with his scoring. In 11 appearances for the club, he’s yet to score.
Leon does look a decent footballer, but strikers have to score goals – that’s their number one job.
Chris has talked about Best today:
“There is no doubting Leon’s ability – we see that in training – but it is a difficult time for him.”
“When you are a striker joining a new club, first you want to play games and more importantly you want to score goals.”
“The unfortunate thing for Leon is he has seen the form of the other strikers around him, which has resulted in his opportunities being limited.”
“My way of looking at it is I would rather have him at the club than not have him.” “Of course he also applies pressure on that striking group.”
“He is a player who has scored goals in the Championship, it is just unfortunate for him he has been among a group of strikers in good form.”
“Since he has been here, he has been a very valuable member of the squad – but of course he wants to be playing and he wants to be scoring goals. His time will come.”
“Leon is a player we still want for next season. We see his abilities; he had scored ten goals for Coventry before he came and has had no problems settling in to the club.”
“The area he wants to be doing well in is scoring goals, and at the moment that has not gone as well as he would have liked, but I still have a lot of faith in him.”
Conventional wisdom suggests Leon needs more time at Newcastle, just like Kevin Nolan and Jose Enrique, to name just two, didn’t look so good when they first arrived.
As we said, the lad does look a good player and he’s been a little unlucky not to get off the mark on Tyneside, and Chris will be trying to ensure Leon gets a goal before the end of the season.
And since he was signed for around £600K and is still only 23, he can be sold in a year or two if he doesn’t make it at Newcastle, and the club will at least get their money back.
That’s one advantage of buying younger players, because they generally retain their sell-on value.
Leon started his career at Southampton is 2004, and spent loan periods at Sheffield Wednesday, QPR, Bournemouth and Yeovil before moving to Coventry in 2007.
He played 16 times for Southampton with 4 goals and 101 times for Coventry with 23 goals.
He has played 169 first class games and scored 45 goals to date.
We’ll need to give Leon more time, that’s all, before we can make up our minds on the player.