There are some reports out that seem a little strange to us, that Newcastle have made an offer for French International midfielder Mathieu Valbuena, who stands 5’6″ tall and turns 30 in September.
Mathieu Valbuena – 29 year-old experienced midfielder
We’d be surprised if this news is accurate, since we would expect Newcastle to be after younger players, and this would certainly go against the profile of players Mike Ashley usually brings into Newcastle, which are 26 years old or younger.
At 29 he would still cost around £10M, because he still has three years left on his Marseilles contract, and he will not come cheap, that’s for sure.
And it’s probably also true that Valbuena is at or near his best right now, and therefore would not exactly improve on Tyneside, and his value would go down – not up.
Mathieu joined Marseilles back in 2006 from Libourne, who are in the sixth tier of French football, and he’s now played 318 times for the French club with 36 goals and 57 assists, and this season he has 27 appearances, a couple of goals and 7 assists.
He can play in central midfield, but when we’ve watched him at Marseilles he’s usually played out on the right wing, and he’s an extremely skillful and talented player, there’s no doubt about that, and he’s also very creative too.
The news that Newcastle are interested in him, is probably being generated because Marseilles are trying to unload some of their older players this summer, so they can build for the future, and Valbuena will be available in the summer at the right price for Marseilles, so maybe Newcastle have moved quickly, knowing he is available.
But there are younger players with potential and who could be even cheaper than Valbuena, and one of them is Clement Grenier who we tried to sign from Lyon in January to replace Yohan Cabaye.
Clement is a terrific player, and he’s only just turned 23 and has huge potential – and plays very much like Yohan Cabaye – and is great at free kicks.
And another thing which seems to go against Newcastle being interested is th right footed 29 year-old, is that he’s always played in the Champions League with Marseilles, and wouldn’t take kindly to joining a club like Newcastle, who couldn’t offer him Champions League football any time soon.
Mathieu was capped for France when 25 years-old back in May of 2010, and he has 30 caps for France over the last four years with five goals, and he was in the 23 man French squad for the last World Cup in South Africa, and is expected to make France’s World Cup squad for Brazil this summer.
We’d be very surprised if this news is accurate – and we’d much rather Newcastle go after players like Cement Grenier and Remy Cabella of Montpellier, who are young and emerging French midfielders, and who have massive potential for the future.
And after watching the really pathetic performance from Newcastle today on the south coast – if we were going to bring in six or seven players in the summer – perhaps we should bring in more than that, and unload players who are fringe players at the club – and there seems to be a lot of them at the moment.
And it’s now looking more and more like Luuk de Jong is just not good enough to get a permanent deal this summer on Tyneside, and Newcastle will need to bring in at least seven good players at least this summer.
Of course, that’s always assuming we want o build a team that is better than just finishing in the top ten next season, which we’ll just about mange this season – if we can get a couple of wins in our last six league games.
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Note: Sean Borland is a student in Newcastle and will not be at either the Man United (5 April) or Swansea (19 April) games – and he has tickets – £30 for the ManU game and £20 for the Swansea game – you can contact him at email@example.com or sean4eva09 on twitter.