News over the weekend that Sunderland are about to make signings of two players who were Newcastle targets.
Craig Gardner – a good young player
The Sebastian Larsson saga may be finally over, as the 25 year-old is expected to rejoin Steve Bruce at Sunderland, as a free agent.
That’s even though former club Arsenal and Aston Villa (his former manager at Birmingham Alex McLeish) have apparently made recent overtures to the Swedish International.
Newcastle were negotiating with Seb Larsson’s agent in Janauary but no deal was made, and with Cabaye, Demba Ba and Marveaux having already been brought to Tyneside, it could be that Seb was pushed down the list at Newcastle.
Larsson played under Sunderland manager Steve Bruce when the Geordie manager was at Birmingham.
Larsson’s father told Sport Folket over the weekend:
“Sunderland have been on really hard since January. Steve Bruce has done much to bring about a deal and been very active,”
“Sebastian along the way pointed out Sunderland as a distinct possibility. We have turned every stone and weighed the pros and cons.”
“The parties agree on the economic conditions and what remains is to agree on the length of the contract.”
“They want a little longer and we want less. But I think there will be no problems.”
News today that Sunderland are in the lead to sign a good player – 24 year old Birmingham midfielder Craig Gardner – but the price quoted of £8M seems a little high, and if Newcastle were interested in the former Aston Villa midfielder, that price could have put them off.
It seemed that Craig could have been a good replacement for the departed Kevin Nolan, since he has a similar game and scored 10 goals for Birmingham last season, their top scorer.
While Newcastle have plenty of money available, they still want good deals , and are almost the opposite of the way the club used to operate in the transfer market under former Chairman Freddy Shepherd.
In those days Newcastle would not only overpay in the transfer market, but they would offer mediocre players huge wages on long term deals, which came back to harm the club, when the player(s) simply didn’t make the grade.
If anything, the Mike Ashley regime have gone too far the other way, but the club has made some very good deals over the last couple of years, so that’s something positive.
Newcastle have had three players in and three players out so far in the summer, and haven’t spent a penny in net transfer funds – yet.