Alan Pardew is again talking about improving Newcastle’s set plays – and in the season review he gave late last week, he was talking about getting a dominant big center-back in, who can score goals from corners, but Alan said almost exactly the same thing last summer.
Douglas – available as a free agent
At that time we thought that was a hint that he would be going after FC Twente’s 6’4″ Brazilian center-back Douglas, but we didn’t, or we did and weren’t successful.
Douglas is available right now as a free agent, after seeing out the last year of his contract at the Dutch club, and there’s news that Liverpool are now interested in the player.
This is some of what he said last week to nufcTV:
“The big fall down has been the center backs scoring goals from set plays. We need to have more dominance in that area.” “It’s all well and good saying that the set play problem is down to tactics, delivery, whatever. Ultimately you need players of six-foot four inches to go and head it in, or at least make first contact.”
“We haven’t had that all year and it means all our wins have been one-goal wins, apart from Wigan and Southampton.” “We’re not the strongest attacking-wise from set pieces and that is an area that we need to look at.” It is not just center-backs who Pardew expects to be a threat in the final third either, with the boss believing that the likes of Mathieu Debuchy, Santon and Massadio Haidara can all play their part too.” “It’s not like we play with our two full-backs to stay at home,”
“They are encouraged to get forward and at times it has cost us in terms of goals conceded.” “They haven’t delivered the goals but I think Mathieu Debuchy, in particular, has got a goal in him and I would expect him to get two or three next year.” “From left-back, Davide Santon played most of the season and will definitely contribute more. He’s grown as a man – you can tell. Then there’s Massadio and we have got better options from full-backs for scoring goals next year.”
That reference to 6’4″ players is a timely one – since we are supposed to be going after QPR’s Christopher Samba, but we already have Mike Williamson at the club, and he stands 6’4″ tall, but he is yet to score a goal for the Magpies in the three and a half years he’s been on Tyneside.
Chris Samba has Premier League experience, but would cost a massive £12M from QPR, and Douglas is available as a free agent this summer – who do you think would be the better buy?
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org