In January of last year it looked like Mehdi Abeid’s time was up at Newcastle, and in the previous two seasons he had made only five first team appearances, since signing on as a free agent from Lens in the summer of 2011.
Mehdi Abeid – in action for Panathinaikos last season
Alan Pardew shipped him out on loan to St. Johnstone in that January, and only because there were no English clubs that wanted to take him on loan, and while north of the border he played 12 times for St. Johnstone.
And then last summer, Newcastle would probably have sold Mehdi if a decent offer had come in, but they shipped him off to Greek club Panathinaikos, and he had an excellent season there, playing 38 times with 10 goals for the club that finished 3rd in the Greek Super League and won the Greek Cup.
So the least Alan Pardew could do this pre-season was take a hard look at the Algerian who was born in France, and Alan Pardew has done that.
Mehdi has looked solid in central midfield during pre-season, and Pardew has given the las a lot of playing time.
And if the local papers are to be believed, Mehdi will be part of the first team squad for next season, even though it seems Panathinaikos wanted him on a permanent basis for £300K earlier this summer.
It takes character and guts to turn you career around, when it looks like it’s all over at a (big) club like Newcastle, and Mehdi deserves great credit for his comeback last season in Greece, and his good play for Newcastle in this pre-season.
This lad still has a chance to make it at Newcastle – and we hope that’s exactly what happens, although he still has work to do.
But Mehdi already knows that, and he will be stronger for the experience he has gone through over the last couple of years, and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
And the youngster turned 22 today – so happy birthday to him.
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