The Daily Mail is reporting that Stephen Ireland is set to join Newcastle on loan until the end of the season.
Stephen Ireland – joining Newcastle?
The Aston Villa midfielder has not had a good time of it since he joined Villa last August from Manchester City, and seems not to be rated by new manager Gerrard Houllier.
Stephen has made just 6 Premier League starts this season, and is said to have had a big argument with Gerard Houllier in early December.
But we don’t much worry about that, since Houllier seems to have had bust ups with lots of Villa players since he arrived, with Stephen Warnock today being the latest to be leaving Aston Villa, after disagreements with the Frenchman.
Contrast Houllier’s travails at Villa with the smooth and common-sense way in which Alan Pardew has taken over at Newcastle, from a previous manager who was enormously liked on Tyneside.
Ireland was part of the player exchange deal that saw former Newcastle winger, James Milner, go to Manchester City last August, and Stephen at that time was valued at £8M.
Celtic and Bolton were also said to be keen on the midfielder, but the SPL club could not afford Stephen’s huge wages – so we suppose if this story is true, Newcastle could afford those wages?
We don’t know if this story is true, but it would be perfect if Ireland comes on loan, and if he can play anywhere near his best form, then Newcastle may try to sign him in the summer, but he will not come cheap, that’s for sure.
Stephen, who was born in County Cork, is still only 24 years old, and has played 177 times for the Eastlands club with 23 goals, and has appeared 12 times so far for Aston Villa.
We think if this deal does happen, Stephen will be enthusiastically welcomed on Tyneside, simply because this lad’s a very gifted footballer – there’s no doubt about that.
Hatem Ben Arfa and Stephen Ireland in one Newcastle side equals creativity galore!