Newcastle are probably in for a tough summer in the transfer market.
Joey Barton with new manager Pardew last December
And the Newcastle club will need to make some early buys in the market, to convince some of their players, and not just the fans, that they have ambition to become a top club again.
It seems they have already given up on trying to persuade Jose Enrique to stay, and the Newcastle Journal is reporting this morning that most of the players on Tyneside expect Jose to leave in the summer.
The Journal itself reported earlier this week, that the hierarchy at Newcastle had privately given up on trying to get Jose to stay.
Joey Barton has also stopped talking about staying at the Newcastle club, or signing a new contract, even though we were told that he would be signing a new deal in early January.
However, the sale of Andy Carroll to Liverpool has upset the apple-cart, and it has not only upset the Newcastle fans, but the ramifications among the players is now plain to see.
It seems to have stopped Joey from committing to the club, and in the first game after the Carroll transfer – at Craven Cottage on February 2nd – Alan Pardew said Joey didn’t play well in the 1-0 defeat, and he was upset about something.
That was two days after Andy left, and it’s clear the Carroll deal was what he was upset about, as were other players at losing their local talisman.
By selling Carroll, the club have put a spanner in the works, and the question now is whether Mike Ashley has any real intention of trying to build a quality side on Tyneside?
We have no real idea what the answer is to that question.
Pardew has said it right when he says if we keep selling our best players, then we’ll never be able to build a top class side. and he’s absolutely right about that.
Top clubs don’t sell their top players and that’s one reason they remain top clubs.
In the best of worlds Newcastle would like to sign two of their targets early in the summer, but that’s not going to be possible, because most big deals get done in August, and other top clubs, who can offer European competition, are also after some of Newcastle’s targets.
And Newcastle are prone not only to losing Enrique this summer, which seems to be almost a done deal, but also Joey Barton, another top player on Tyneside, and of course Jonas Gutierrez is also wondering what Newcastle’s ambitions really are.
Newcastle’s main transfer targets are a top striker, a fast winger, and two full backs, one to replace Enrique and the other to challenge Danny Simpson at right back, and in addition one or two utility players, who can play in a number of positions to increase the coverage.
We don’t want to sound too negative, and even if Enrique and Barton leave the club, Newcastle could still make some excellent signings to compensate, and they’ve done well in the last 18 months in the transfer market.
But Enrique and Barton are two lads who have shown they are top Premier League players over the last four years at the club, and those are hard to find.
It seems a crying shame when we have both of them at the club, and yet neither of them wants to stay.
There’s something very wrong with that somehow, and our guess is that the players are just as wary of owner Mike Ashley as the fans are. We wonder if he ever says anything to the players, since he says absolutely nothing to the fans.
The players don’t seem to trust Mike as far as they can throw him, and that’s not very far.
It’s a bit of a worrying time at Newcastle right now, since it will be very hard to lose Enrique and Barton this summer, a short six months after Andy moved on, and they are three of our very best players.