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News and Commentary On Newcastle United By Ed Harrison, A Proud Exiled Geordie And Lifelong Fan

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Winger – Rafa Is Helping Everybody At Newcastle

9:11 am, Wednesday, July 20th, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 95 Comments

This is a crucial season for 22-year-old Ayoze Perez after arriving at Newcastle two years ago from Tenerife for a measly €2M and having had a terrific first season at  Newcastle.

But last year he didn’t progress as much as expected in what was a nightmare season for the club and we hope to see good progress this season from the likable Spanish U-21 International – coached by his fellow countryman – Rafa Benitez.

rafa benitez ayoze perez first day

Rafa Benitez and Ayoze Perez on first day back

Perez’ only focus seems to be getting Newcastle back to the Premier League next season and he had this to say today in the local press:

“I already said when the team went down that I would try to come back to the Premier League with Newcastle.” “That’s it. I’m focused. I’m here. Now we need to get fit for a tough season.”

“We have had a rest, now it’s time to start again, work and focus on the season ahead.” “We try to get back as soon as possible.”

“We all know how important Rafa is for Newcastle,” “He always helps everyone at the club. It’s good to have him as our coach.” “He’s important for me. We are going to learn a lot from him.”

“It was really good,”  “It was hard work, as always in pre-season. It was a good week in Ireland.”

“They are all good signings.”  “At the moment the squad is really good – a lot of quality – and now we need to get ready and fit for this tough season.”

Perez signed a new long-term deal in February and should see some action tonight at the Keepmoat Stadium at Doncaster  Rovers in our second friendly game of preseason – the game kicks off 7:45 pm kickoff.

Newcastle seem to be close to finally signing Grant Hanley from Blackburn Rovers and we have already signed five good players in Matz Sels,  Dwight Gayle, Matt Ritchie, Jesus Gamez and Isaac Hayden.

The squad is now stronger than it was at the end of last season.

It would be great to get Grant through the door very soon as the sixth signing this summer.

Comments welcome.

Note: Reader Sean Pigott is taking part in an Ultra white collar boxing event in Aberdeen on the 10th of September this year and collecting for Cancer Research UK, because many of his family have suffered from the terrible disease.

Sean has set up a justgiving page here if you can possibly donate to a very good cause.

Tags: Ayoze Perez · Championship · Coaching · Newcastle News · Other News · Pre-season · Premier League

95 responses so far ↓

  • 1 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Jul 20, 2016 at 9:14 AM


    Lucas’ position is officially recorded as “Random Midfield presence of no real note”

  • 2 Jib // Jul 20, 2016 at 9:17 AM

    Owen Coyle is a fox
    Only when I see GH in a toon top will I believe it !

  • 3 cyprus // Jul 20, 2016 at 9:19 AM

    That’s suspiciously similar to Perez’s position, we don’t need to many of those.

    Seriously. Lucas is a decent player for us, a step up to the likes of Shelvey.

    I’d rather we keep Gini, who is technically our best player, but it seems he’s gone. As for Sissoko, our second most gifted player, he wants out, he’ll be gone. My estimate: 29.3 mil 🙂

  • 4 cyprus // Jul 20, 2016 at 9:20 AM


  • 5 Nufc-83 // Jul 20, 2016 at 9:21 AM

    ED I am not sure why you label Perez as a winger as he is clearly a striker or his second psoiton would be a no10. He did get some game time at LW last season when we had only Gini to select and by this point he was playing so badly Perez was the only option due to his skills and workrate. Perez actually done ok LW/LM as he often accepted the ball and carried it upfield releaving some of the pressure which is a lot more than any of our so called star players where doing at the time. All in all he is not a winger so lets not get back to the Pardew days asd its clear Rafa is trying to build a much more balanced team.

  • 6 The overrated Frenchman // Jul 20, 2016 at 9:22 AM

    YCMIU – that’s Colback’s job, and he executes it perfectly. Lucas can actually tackle, and pass the ball forward, both of which can come in handy, and skills which are not in wor Jack’s repetoire.

  • 7 Jail for Ashley // Jul 20, 2016 at 9:23 AM

    I don’t get why people are accusing Owen Coyle of being greedy while Rafa has reportedl slapped a price tag of 35M on the fraud Sissoko.

  • 8 jackostoon // Jul 20, 2016 at 9:23 AM

    Morning folks, is this Hanley any good, seriously, I never gave him a second glance before we were mentioned with him.

  • 9 Jail for Ashley // Jul 20, 2016 at 9:26 AM

    I wonder if the penny will drop with our CL midfielder Moussaka Sissoko if Lpool cough up 25M for Wijnaldum while the club (s) of his dreams try to haggle over the 12M they think he’s worth.

  • 10 Nufc-83 // Jul 20, 2016 at 9:27 AM

    I cant understand why people are saying Lucas actually gets forward and is a neutral Midfielder. Lucas is one of the most defensive minded midfielders in the PL with possibly only Mikel more defensive. I dont doubt he would be a half decent addittion if we are to sell Tiote as for me Anita is not good enough in that role and is just a squad filler at this point and coldback is much better playing box to box. Hayden has come in and will likely be the starting CDM as i do think Tiote will be sold but if we get Lucas then it will likely see hayden dropped to the bench or possibly pushed to defense.

  • 11 SuperShearer // Jul 20, 2016 at 9:30 AM

    Can’t be a coincidence that with Gini on the verge of leaving we’re not close to signing the player we’ve been after for the past two weeks. In other words we’ll sign GH and then wave goodbye to Gini. Best way to do it so as Blackburn don’t up their price last minute because they know we’re cash rich from the sale.

  • 12 cyprus // Jul 20, 2016 at 9:32 AM

    What’s the deal with Saivet? Ok, labled a flop, but he was given what, 11 minutes? Wasn’t he like a big talent and prospect? Did Carr make another mistake? Had he been given the myriads of chances people like Obertan (he who kept the likes of HBA out!!) were given, would he still be a flop?

    Just wondering.

  • 13 Toon-Prodigy // Jul 20, 2016 at 9:32 AM


    Just like Anita then! Tidy CM on his day?

    I think Colback and Anita has more than enough for this league. Hayden looks promising also as cover. Saivet is a question mark at the minute. He didn’t even get on the bench towards the end of the season.

    Tiote can go. Get him off the wage bill.

    I’d like to see a CB, number 10 and a winger brought in to replace Sissoko and Wijnaldum.

  • 14 Nufc-83 // Jul 20, 2016 at 9:33 AM

    Before the start of the season i expect the following wil be sold:
    – Gini
    – Moussa
    – Tiote
    – Jaanmat
    – Krul (depending on his fitness situation)

    I would like to see the back of Gouffran and Riviere but i hope Thauvin stays as i think the championship could be the making of him like it was Enrique.

    All the fringe players like Vuckic etc will be gone also im guessing.

  • 15 Charlie in the Gallowgate // Jul 20, 2016 at 9:35 AM

    Looking at Lucas’s record on – looks like if we get him he will be a replacement for Tiote.

  • 16 magscar // Jul 20, 2016 at 9:36 AM

    Rafa has seemingly already got some good deals done before a possible windfall from Sissoko and Gini pushews up asking price although Blackburn have realised that NUFC already have money to spend unlike the usual situation with other relegated clubs.

    We don’t have to( but might) sell to restock or reduce wages which is also not usually the case and so can play hardball despite relegation. Having said that Rafa will have weighed up all options and will I am sure do what is best for NUFC which doesn’t necessarily translate into for Ashley or the players involved.

    As I referred to yesterday I am a little concerned at a dilemma which will be presented to us if either or both go. Replacing with players ready for PL won’t be easy and he will need a war chest next summer if we gain promotion.

    I am sure Rafa can play the long game and I am curious as to what his strategy will be

  • 17 cyprus // Jul 20, 2016 at 9:37 AM

    Lucas is a very good, versatile player, I think. He can play the role he’s known for, but is also decent moving forward. I think, overall, he’s better than what we have. How old is he, seems he’s been around since I was 12 🙂

  • 18 Jib // Jul 20, 2016 at 9:38 AM


    I think what players stats may or may not be is irrelevant.

    Rafa monitors players all the time.

    I think Grant Hanley is one of those players that Rafa has thought “he’s got potential – if I could just get some one on one coaching time with him he could be much better”
    This is the secret of good player dealing.
    Rafa rarely buys a player at the top of his game.
    He has dropped clangers before now but has created some worldies
    The World Cup winning Spanish squad had it’s fair share of Bentitez oeuvre’s

  • 19 Nufc-83 // Jul 20, 2016 at 9:39 AM

    Toon-Prodigy, Coldback is not a true Dm and when he his asked to sit back and play that position he is pretty shocking tbh and his game seems to improve big time when he is given some freedom to get up and down.

    Anita is just simply not physical enough to do the job and has had some really great games like west ham the season before last when we stayed up but overall i think the starting cdm needs to have some steel and physical presence.

    Saviet needs more game time before we can judge him its as simple as that when he came on he actually looked ok to me so not sure why he didnt get a look in but he really cannot be written of yet.

    Hayden looks very tidy on the ball and has the stature to impose himself on the opoosition. I hope he starts as CDM for us.

    Tiote- Good player in his day (when cabaye was next to him) but all went to his head and he started moving away from his core strengths which has impacted his performances ever since – get him sold.

  • 20 cyprus // Jul 20, 2016 at 9:43 AM

    Any big examples of stars bought-created by Rafa? And clangers?

  • 21 Jib // Jul 20, 2016 at 9:44 AM

    Cyprus he’s 29
    Rafa brought him direct from South America to Liverpool when he was 20.

  • 22 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Jul 20, 2016 at 9:45 AM

    I would love to debate this lucas thing further, but i am having trouble commenting. Very dodgy connection today. Its taking multiple attempts to post.

  • 23 cyprus // Jul 20, 2016 at 9:46 AM

    So I wasn’t 12 then.

  • 24 cyprus // Jul 20, 2016 at 9:47 AM

    Maybe you are at dodgy surroundings?

  • 25 Novocastrian66 // Jul 20, 2016 at 9:52 AM

    I don’t like Lucas or Hanley, however if the both sign and do a job with getting us promoted I won’t complain.

  • 26 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Jul 20, 2016 at 9:54 AM


    Work WiFi, and if I try mobile data, the thundery atmosphere seems to be making it just as bad.

  • 27 Jib // Jul 20, 2016 at 9:55 AM

    Off the top of me head
    Torres – Reina – Xavi Alonso
    Raul and Segio Ramos both played for him as kids in RM’s b team
    Mata was a kid under him at Valencia
    The only big flops I can remember is Riera from Manacor who went to school with Rafa Nadal, and was going to be the next big thing and Morientes.

  • 28 Toon-Prodigy // Jul 20, 2016 at 9:56 AM


    I’m all for upgrading, I just don’t want to see an abundance of CM’s at the club now that we seem to be correcting the balance throughout the squad. Looking at it, for me anyway, we seem to have enough in that department for this season. I think I would rather have the cash for Gini and use it wisely on proper forward thinking players. Him and Sissoko will need to be replaced.

    Im looking forward to seeing what Hayden can do also.

  • 29 Ian Toon // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:00 AM

    Rolando Aarons is a winger despite being pressed into service as an emergency left back. It was one of Macca’s ideas to drag that whole flank of the team up the pitch by playing a classic winger in a deeper position. Whatever the theory it didn’t work as Aaron’s looked lost. Though every single sub appearance I’ve seen of his he’s impressed. His presence changed our team’s outlook each time. The staid plodding grind of Pardew’s team became transformed into a forward-flowing wave. He’s got something and clearly in a wide wingman role in a 4-4-2.
    Macca’s team’s impotence wasn’t helped by playing with a lone front man. Cisse/ Mitrovic seemed incapable of fulfilling the role, either not strong or quick enough, not a good enough finisher, or they didn’t hold up play. This season particularly at home play two up front Mitrovic and Gayle. Play two together as a unit and their strengths could complement each other. With Aarons attacking down one wing and Ritchie the other, Shelvey Creating opportunities and Perez arriving in the box, there are goals in that team. But If Gini and Moussa are to leave we need to find goals from midfield. Last season getting goals was our biggest problem and closely followed by our inability to defend. The defence is being addressed at long last and this will be a stronger unit than last season.

  • 30 jackostoon // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:03 AM

    Cheers kidda, appreciate the reply.

  • 31 Toon-Prodigy // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:03 AM

    This Hanley deal looks very close. Not sure what to think of this one to be honest. His leadership will be great and seems a good back up option for this league but untested in the Premier if promoted at the first time of asking.

    I don’t want another Williamson on our hands for the next 5 years. I know he was a hard worker but CB’s need pace now in the Premier and from what I have read this Hanley dosn’t seem to be very quick.

    He should hold his value though.

  • 32 Toon-Prodigy // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:05 AM

    We have agreed a fee for Hanley. SSN. 5.5 mil.

  • 33 Hail Wor Ashley // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:07 AM

    Hanley is a 24 year-old Scottish international. Captain of his club and voted their player of the season last time out. At the very least he’s going to be solid like Willo was at this level, with better leadership qualities, time on his side to improve and a top manager to help him do that. £6-7m is fair enough for that sort of player these days. Any more than that and we’re overpaying, but I’m not against that to get players in quicker. This season of all, it’s better to pay£2m extra to get a player in 2 weeks before our season starts than haggle and get them in 2 weeks after the season starts, particularly in a position in which we’re short like CB.

    Think he’ll complement Lascelles and Mbemba well.

  • 34 Toon-Prodigy // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:09 AM

    He’s on his way.

  • 35 Hail Wor Ashley // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:09 AM

    As I say that we’ve apparently agreed a fee! Good.

  • 36 JamesToon // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:10 AM


  • 37 Toon-Prodigy // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:11 AM


    I hope your reet on the lad!

  • 38 G // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:12 AM

    Who’s saying Hanley is slow? Fair enough he’s no sprinter, but he’s certainly a lot quicker than both Colo and Willo were in their prime. People calling him slow must be picking the stats out of computer games and not watching matches again. He is more than quick enough for a prem club, the question I have is does the lad have the skill set for the prem? He certainly won’t disgrace himself in the Champo if he signs.

  • 39 Ian Toon // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:13 AM

    Nufc83- spot on with your relative merits of Colback and Anita. I am a big Colback fan and he played last season for the team rather than himself. He was close to being our player of the season in his first season but last had to play far deeper to prop up a leaky defence. He’s a scrapper which is just what we need in a balanced side.He will enjoy the combative nature of the Championship whereas I am not sure Anita will. For me Anita is more style than substance and lacks physicality.

  • 40 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:14 AM

    Is welshy about? This will surely lower his blood pressure 😀

  • 41 jackostoon // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:14 AM

    To be fair, we’ve been lacking centre halves for a while now, good luck to the lad, onwards and upwards.

  • 42 Hail Wor Ashley // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:15 AM

    If it is the reported £5,5m by SSN then all the better. Can’t see it ultimately being that low, unless the player handed in a transfer request or there’s some add-ons, maybe even a player going on loan in return. Something.

  • 43 Toon-Prodigy // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:15 AM

    Well there is the CB. Im buzzing to find out about more attacking players. Wonder if Gini will be gone today then and going for a medical.

  • 44 Rotonda heights // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:16 AM

    I thought Anita under Rafa hs been outstanding. great little player. Colback not so much, too many daft free kicks and very little creativity. squad player at best.

  • 45 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:18 AM

    So, would people say this completes our defence for the season?

    Even if janmaat leaves. We have Gamez, Mbabu Anita, hayden who can play RB

    LB haidara, dummet, colback can all play there.

  • 46 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:21 AM

    Mbemba, lascelles, Hanley, hayden, dummet for CB.

  • 47 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:23 AM

    To answer my own question, if anything, a reliable LB would be useful. Haidara injured often. Dummet more suited to CB imo, Colback a little rash at times.

  • 48 Toon-Prodigy // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:23 AM

    Juve have rejected 85 mil bid for Pogba from Man U according to sky. Unreal.

  • 49 Hail Wor Ashley // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:24 AM


    I’d move on Haidara if possible and get another LB. Another unreliable crock that has stagnated due to never being fit for more than 10 straight matches.

  • 50 posada // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:25 AM

    Ian Toon Good assessment of our problems last year at 29.

    However, you say if Siss and Wini go we will need to replace their goals from midfield.
    Really, Siss only scored once last season. Wini scored all his goals at home. 4 in one game.
    If we get serious money for them it will be great.
    No significant loss.

  • 51 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:27 AM


    Id probably keep hom around for this season, but i agree on getting a starting LB in.

  • 52 Jib // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:28 AM

    With Stuart Findlay we now have two big Scottish lumps at Centre Half – I have no problem with that.

  • 53 Nufc-83 // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:30 AM

    Ian-toon I was just about to say the same about your post regarding Aarons and playing with Mitro cisse etc.. Spot on!

  • 54 Nufc-83 // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:34 AM

    Hail wor if Jaanmatt goes it will pretty much confirm Gamez to RB which will mean we have dummett unbalancing the team on the left. We will (or should be) the team pushing on in this league so we need an attacking outlet on the left and the players who get the most space are full backs. we cant have a player on the left who does not want the ball and just punts it upfield giving the ball away all the time. If Gamez is RB we need a Lb who can contibute both sides of the pitch.

  • 55 SPRINGY // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:34 AM

    wonder if sinclair or the lad in belgium is in before long as well as hanley….left hand side looking a little thin

  • 56 The overrated Frenchman // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:37 AM

    Rotonda@44 – Agree with all that.

  • 57 expatmag // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:40 AM


    I suppose a lot will drpend on whether Marseille cough up the 12 5 million quid we want for Thauvin or not.

  • 58 Wayayman // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:42 AM

    Jazzy from last thread, thanks for the Che Adams info.

    Springy, which lad from Belgium? I’m losing track as we’ve been linked with so many players already!

  • 59 expatmag // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:42 AM

    Looking at tbe squad now, it is getting younger with Taylor and Colo gone snd seems more british based.

  • 60 Yo-yo // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:42 AM


    I have never thought of Tufty’s attacking tactic as a “forward flowing wave”. Bit OTT on the coach’s merits there 🙂

    Anita has been a loyal, uncomplaining, adaptable, committed player for this club. He has belied his size with solid skills – mostly seems to have a well timed tackle – and does a mean chip pass forward – and has the brains to act on instructions from the manager – As Rotonda says – he has certainly thrived under Rafa.
    Colback has his merits, does a lot of running about, often a bit reckless in the tackle, but determined. Also committed to the cause, maybe not as tactically aware as Anita.
    TBH we need both types of players this next season.

  • 61 expatmag // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:43 AM


    I think he was referring to a young Ghanaian winger at Anderlecht called Achampong or something like that

  • 62 Toon-Prodigy // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:44 AM

    Sinclair is a good shout. Would be a decent signing. Brendan Rodgers has apparantly offered 3 mil for him now. Who would cough up for Thauvin though on his wages and the fee we want?

  • 63 magscar // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:45 AM

    Given the lack of goals from up front last season it was vital that midfielders got several.

    Gini did that usually when team were playing well but rarely to my recollection when we struggled. Very much a confidence player and in the right set up could no doubt reproduce his home form for us away for the right team. Not sure where he would fit in Liverpool’s side unless they are looking to ship out some. I still believe he has a loo to offer and given a choice would prefer him to stay rather than Sissoko

    If we are getting goals from strikers next season then we won’t be as desperate for so many from midfield but an attacking/creative midfielder should be a priority if Gini goes. I reckon Rafa has some in mind should the need arise.

  • 64 SuperShearer // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:46 AM

    Hanley and potentially Sinclair in will mark the departure of Gini. He occasionally looked great but all too often went missing, it was also very telling that when the chips were really down Rafa dropped him. If we get £25 million or more for him it’s good business.

  • 65 magscar // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:48 AM

    Never seen Hanley play but fee being quoted doesn’t seem unreasonable and should slot straight in for us in Championship and hopefully is a battler and a shouter. If he doesn’t seem PL material then we should be able to get most of fee if not all back next year. So no quibbles here.

  • 66 expatmag // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:50 AM


    Marseille have just sold a player to Spurs who us a winger for a similar amount and Thauvin has openly admitted he would take a salary reduction yo go vack there

  • 67 magscar // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:54 AM

    Anita is the ubiquitous utility player. Often maligned in this era but are very useful in small squads or when playing a lot of games.

    I have liked Anita since he arrived and he plays where is told and usually to good effect without the drama.

    Like all utility players though he isn’t a master of any position and so will be likely relied on as cover for injuries/cup games rather than a regular starter.

  • 68 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:54 AM

    How is the squad looking now. Appart from a LB, do we need owt more

  • 69 Wayayman // Jul 20, 2016 at 10:54 AM

    Thanks Expat

  • 70 Toon-Prodigy // Jul 20, 2016 at 11:02 AM


    Fingers crossed we can get shot of him!

  • 71 Spoof // Jul 20, 2016 at 11:06 AM

    Fee agreed for Hanley, assuming that he a signs out of the main 3 who misses out, Hanley, Mbemba or Lascellas.

  • 72 magscar // Jul 20, 2016 at 11:08 AM


    If no one goes ( looking unlikely) then we still need a striker if Armstrong is deemed as not yet quite ready by Rafa.

    If there are departures I don’t necessarily expect a like for like replacement in terms of money spent at least not until we are back in PL.

    We would need to replace though as the campaign will take it’s toll and a squad of sufficient players already blooded in competitive football above and beyond the first 11 -14 regularly used will be needed.

    Oh and hopefully no more square pegs in round holes with a 5th player covering LB spot!

    Kids can be brought in at times when team is flying but it would be wrong to depend on them for long spells in a campaign and I would expect sparing use of perhaps Sterry .

  • 73 Goromagpie // Jul 20, 2016 at 11:09 AM

    I think Hanley will be behind lasc and mbmem.
    But he will play all the Wednesday night matches to give lasc or mbemba a rest.

  • 74 SPRINGY // Jul 20, 2016 at 11:13 AM

    i thats him expat,sorry wayayman,logged off for a while.

  • 75 Our Toon // Jul 20, 2016 at 11:13 AM

    The biggest concern for me is the lack of creativity, this was a concern last season as well and hopefully we are looking to strengthen from back but worryingly going forward it’s not looking to clever with both gini and sissoko offski

  • 76 magscar // Jul 20, 2016 at 11:17 AM

    Not sure that Rafa would have been as determined to chase a squad player for so long. I expect Hanley to play initially probably with Lascelles. Pre-season will help Rafa confirm what he has been seeing as his first choice pairing.

    However with 2 matches per week initially as Goromag mentions there could be some swap overs.

    Whilst a settled defence is vital Rafa will be working the defenders as unit looking to be able to swap seemlessly as necessary.

  • 77 hibbitt // Jul 20, 2016 at 11:22 AM

    Our Toon

    if they both go what exactly will we miss from these 2
    if you look back on last seasons performances both hid for a lot of the time and dont want to be here

  • 78 G // Jul 20, 2016 at 11:22 AM

    I don’t think Rafa has an outright CB combination in mind, he wants them to compete for the shirt, and he also likes to rotate. Given the length of a season in the Champo, even a 4th choice CB can expect a regular game at this level.

  • 79 Lee Charnley Bunga Party // Jul 20, 2016 at 11:25 AM

    @Our Toon

    Yeah the lack of creativity still worries me as well granted we need defenders but in every home game we will be expected to break teams down who park the bus and we didn’t do well at this last season !

    Getting a couple of wingers and a creative midfielder with pace would sort that out ! Should also still look at signing Sakho from West Ham if possible or Mccormack for more goals as I still dont see a guaranteed 20 goal a season guy yet in our squad !

  • 80 Toon_Tom // Jul 20, 2016 at 11:26 AM

    Our Toon – Matt Ritchie (IMO) is an adequate replacement for Townsend and should provide the width and creativity. If Aarons can remain fit he too can provide the relevant creativity.

    Perez, if given the chance, will thrive in the championship and again will provide the creativity as and when required.

    Gayle will bang them in i’m sure (watch this space) and Mitrovic will eventually come good and get his name on the score sheet most weeks.

    I think our attacking options and fire power are enough to score the goals, our back 4, specifically our CBs in Lasc and Mbemba proved to be solid towards the back end of the season and Hanley will add to that. Gamez another good addition. I still would like a solid LB (enrique, bernard style) as Haidara and Dummet will more than likely visit the doctor on a few occasions this season.

    I’m happy with the additions, i think Shelvey will play a part, De Jong is still floating about too and the likes of Anita, Saivatt, Colback and Tiote will provide the guts and steel in the middle.

    Looking forward to it myself!!!

  • 81 Mister Tuff // Jul 20, 2016 at 11:28 AM

    Now that it looks like Hanley is in the bag – looking forward to getting the additional striker.
    Difference is like chalk and cheese compared to previous seasons – Rafa is getting who he wants in early. Allows plenty of time to get players settled and to learn the tactics/style/responsibilities etc.

    Probably just another forward now and we are set to turn out a very decent side.

  • 82 Charlie in the Gallowgate // Jul 20, 2016 at 11:36 AM

    Bloody slow taken an hour to get on-line BTYahoo having problems.

    Hanley – looks like a large piece of timber -hope he is a decent player as we need some muscle in defence – to many times our defenders got pushed off/out muscled to easily last season.

  • 83 JDdubai // Jul 20, 2016 at 11:43 AM

    Think we are still light in attacking midfielders/wingers. If we assume Wini and Sissoko will not be here come September, then we have currently:

    Aarons (can he be relied upon to last 20 games a season, let alone 46?)
    Perez – isnt a wide player, no10 at best
    Thauvin – likely to leave
    Gayle – a CF, can fill in wide I guess but shouldnt go into the season with him 3rd choice.

    And thats it, only Ritchie can be relied upon as a wide player. Aarons cant be relied upon until he has shown his body can handle the rigours of playing full time. Then we have no-one.

    Defs need 1 or 2 wide guys for me.

  • 84 Nufc-83 // Jul 20, 2016 at 11:47 AM

    JD i agree although i have a feeling Thauvin will stay which means we have 3 out and out wide players. We should have 2 for each side as a minimum so i would agree a left winger is needed with another if Thauvin does leave.

  • 85 outside the box // Jul 20, 2016 at 11:48 AM

    i reckon …back 4 of memba lascelles hanley gamez…..with hayden covering….i also reckon perez will be used in number ten role…hanley to get ginis 5 shirt..

  • 86 Wayayman // Jul 20, 2016 at 11:53 AM

    Totally forgot that it’s ACON in Jan/Feb so we’d lose Mbemba and Tiote for at least 6 weeks, right? That makes even more sense of signing Hanley now and getting the team used to each other.

  • 87 JamesToon // Jul 20, 2016 at 11:53 AM

    So with Hanley coming in lets evaluate where else we need to strengthen.

    We have 3 very decent goalkeepers, 4 including woodman, in Darlow, Sels and Elliot, with Krul probably going to leave.
    We now have 3 recognised CBs, Lascelles, Mbemba and Hanley. We also have Hayden, Dummett (who should be a permanent CB imo) and also Gamez can play there, so I think we have enough cover for that position.
    Right back we have Gamez, Sterry who looks promising and also Mbabu.
    Left back we only have Dummett who isn’t really a left back I think we can all agree, and Haidara but is injured most of the time. So we defo need another left back, either Charlie Taylor, Rico Henry or anyone else who Rafa sees adequate.
    Central midfield we have Shelvey, Tiote, Colback, Hayden, Saivet and Anita. Tiote still has question marks about his future, if he does leave or Saivet leaves, I’d bring in Reece Oxford on loan anyway as he can provide more cover for CB if needed and can also play a Dier esc role for us. Wingers we have Aarons, Ritchie, Perez can play there but would ideally be an attacking mid, Roberts and Thauvin. With Sissoko and Wijnaldum set to leave we defo need a creative midfielder, and if Thauvin leaves as well we will definitely need another winger. For a creative mid, I’d take any of Alan Judge, Will Hughes, Alex Pritchard, Wes Hoolahan. As for a Thauvin replacement would take any of Bakary Sako, Moses, Fraser from Bournemouth.

    Then the chronicle saying we’re still looking for a striker, I personally think we have enough quality there with Mitro, Gayle, Arma and Perez. Although if Rafa really wants another striker, Diafra Sakho would be very good although hell be off to a prem side or Ross McCormack

  • 88 jimmysmith // Jul 20, 2016 at 11:56 AM

    Hanley completes the squad, even if both Sissoko and Widjnaldum leave. We have Ritchie, Thauvin, Aarons, Perez, Gouffran, Sammy and Rivierre to fill the wide roles. De Jong, Perez and Shelvey can play as tens. Gayle, Perez, Rivierre, Gouffran and Arma can play off Mitro, and Rivierre can understudy Mitro as a target man. We have plenty of options, but the problem is of course after losing our two best players, will we be good enough, because even if we get a few more bodies, they won’t be at that level. We do have a master coach though, and that must be worth a lot of points.

  • 89 JDdubai // Jul 20, 2016 at 12:13 PM


    Sorry bud but Sammy, Riviere, Gouffran are awful – Sammy couldnt handle this league last season,
    Riviere has been as injury prone as SDJ too.
    Aarons will never last 46 games, he has only played 14 games in his career with how many injuries, so we need another “first choice” replacement.
    Perez isnt a winger
    Thauvin is a gamble, if he even stays.

    would want at least 1 more proven wide player in.

  • 90 Vask // Jul 20, 2016 at 12:19 PM

    I’d like to see the back of goufran. He can be played out wide but he is not very good. He adds nowt. He is filler.

    Sammy spaghetti legs amoebi is similar but sometimes he looks alreet as a footballer. Not sure I agree with his hair style though.

  • 91 Mister Tuff // Jul 20, 2016 at 12:21 PM

    I do not think the squad is complete yet. At least a striker and attacking midfielder yet to be signed up.

  • 92 jimmysmith // Jul 20, 2016 at 12:23 PM

    They aren’t awful by Championship standards, and they aren’t going to be first or even second choice. Of course getting better players in would be preferable, but they really aren’t likely to be much better than Gouffran and Rivierre, in our position.

  • 93 Toon-Prodigy // Jul 20, 2016 at 12:23 PM

    How about James Wilson of Man U? Apparantly we have asked about his availability. Decent player.

  • 94 jimmysmith // Jul 20, 2016 at 12:31 PM

    Yeah we might sign a couple more, but I don’t see us being significantly stronger than what we have now, minus Gini and Sissoko. Rafa might surprise us though. Gamez was a surprise.

  • 95 Pigott93 // Jul 20, 2016 at 12:36 PM

    Thank you so much ed for putting the information up on these articles.

    Hi guys I’d any of ye could help out with the JustGiving page that would be amazing, any donation would be much appreciated even if it was only 1 pound. This charity is very close to me as many people in my family have suffered from cancer and I want to do my best to help raise as much money as I can.

    I will keep ye informed about whether I win the fight if anybody is interested in that ?

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