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

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Newcastle To Announce Big Deal Early Next Week

9:06 am, Thursday, August 25th, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 15 Comments

News in the local press that Newcastle have offered goalkeeper Rob Elliot a massive new deal to keep him at Newcastle long term – and that should certainly keep the 30 year-old happy as he comes back from a very serious ACL knee injury.

Rob was our best player last season and our Player of the Season and he was simply a revelation, although he had always played well when given his chance in the Newcastle first team, since signing on from Charlton a full five years ago.

rob elliot ireland

Rob Elliot – recovering from his ACL knee injury
This is Rob doing light training in Dublin this summer

Rob played 21 times for Newcastle last season and in five years at the club he has played for us 48 times but that is likely to increase once he’s fit again.

Matz Sels has arrived from Gent and he seems to have edged out our other senior fit goalkeeper, Karl Darlow, so when Rob returns – probably in November – we expect him to claim the number one jersey on Tyneside again.

No formal announcement from the club yet, but it does tip Rafa’s hand a bit that he sees Rob as his goalkeeper for Newcastle in the coming seasons.

But Tim Krul is not out of the reckoning yet, and if he recovers well from his ACL injury and plays well for Ajax next season on loan, he could be competing next summer to still be Newcastle’s number one goalkeeper.

Rafa has given Tim a one year extension to his contract so his value doesn’t diminish next summer when he would have become a free agent.

Rob is not only a goalkeeper who is still improving, but he’s a strong voice in the dressing room, an excellent professional who always trains well – and a firm fan favorite on Tyneside.

The deal is expected to be announced next week and we expect it to be for five years.

Comments welcome.

Tags: Contracts · Financials · Karl Darlow · Leadership · Matz Sels · Newcastle News · Rob Elliot · Tim Krul

15 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jib // Aug 25, 2016 at 9:08 AM

    For Jail bless him

  • 2 Fostino // Aug 25, 2016 at 9:18 AM

    Misleading headline

  • 3 Jack Root // Aug 25, 2016 at 9:21 AM

    Jimmy Smith

    You took an interest in my post on Daniel Levy and the way he operates in the transfer windows, based on moneyball, this was back in January. No quite the fantasy that detractors suggested at the time. You’re clearly ahead of your time. Sam Wallace provides proof of growing trends

    There is still no mention of Craig Kline on the Fulham website, which is unusual for a man who is the director of statistical recruitment, although the manager, Slavisa Jokanovic, is in no doubt of the influence that the American data analyst wields when it comes to signing players.
    “It is better to ask questions to this man as he can explain what we are going to do in recruitment,” Jokanovic said last Saturday in what must go down as the most comprehensive act of managerial rebellion of the season so far. Without naming the player, Jokanovic put Kline in the cart for Fulham’s failure to sign Andreas Pereira on loan this month despite the fact that the 20-year-old Manchester United man came with a glowing recommendation from Jose Mourinho.
    Kline has been a person of interest since January, when The Daily Telegraph revealed that this close friend of Tony Khan, the son of Fulham owner Shahid, was a key figure at the club and had devised a data-analysis programme that helped dictate transfer policy. The problem being that Kline had no previous experience in football and his challenging personality had led to a number of clashes around the Motspur Park training ground.
    What pushed Jokanovic over the edge was the computer-says-no verdict of Kline’s data model when it came to Pereira. It was not even that Pereira failed the test. It was simply that, despite the reference from Mourinho, Kline said Pereira could not even be considered because he did not have enough data – minutes played – that could be submitted for analysis.
    In February, Kline was sent back to the United States while the original fuss around him died down but it was always the intention of Tony Khan that his friend would return. Kline duly came back and while Jokanovic was in charge of the team for last night’s EFL Cup tie against Middlesbrough, his skewering of Kline after the weekend draw with Cardiff means the future is uncertain, to say the least.
    In reality, it seems that Kline never really went away. He worked remotely towards the end of last season and he is not the kind of man who keeps normal office hours anyway, with emails about statistical analyses as likely to drop into the inboxes of staff at Fulham at 3am as 3pm.
    Kline is the architect at Fulham of what he calls the “Both Boxes Checked” system which is intended to give equal weight to traditional scouting methods and Kline’s own brand of statistical analysis. Without a positive score in both categories, a player will not be signed and that means, at the very least, that he has equal authority on signings with Jokanovic and the club’s chief football officer, Mike Rigg.
    The thinking behind the scheme is that there should be consensus between the analytics department and the manager. Neither side should lay claim to the final say but instead, by a process of elimination, they alight upon a player who checks both boxes. Judging by Jokanovic’s reaction last Saturday, they are a long way from that utopia of agreement.
    At Shahid’s NFL franchise, the Jacksonville Jaguars, Tony Khan has the title of “senior vice-president in football technology and analytics” and there has been a push since the Khans took over the Jaguars to place data at the centre of recruitment. Tony’s official Jaguars biography says that he created Fulham’s “statistical research department”, and Kline, whom he met at university, is at the centre of it.
    Fulham’s model has been created for Tony’s company TruMedia, which offers sports franchises and now football clubs a new horizon in which data analytics can help find the players they need. The actual detail of the model is the intellectual property of Tony, adjusted by Kline for European football, and it is not divulged to staff.
    The plan at Fulham, in spite of Kline’s difficult relationships with former manager Kit Symons, and now Jokanoic, has been unwavering. The club are no longer prepared to sign players who are not “Both Boxes Checked”.
    The American contingent is understood to have been unhappy with the signing of Richard Stearman from Wolverhampton Wanderers last summer for around £2 million on a three-year deal. They felt that he was overpriced, did not score highly on data and has not subsequently justified the investment.
    After that, the introduction of Kline and his statistics-based approach was insisted upon as a key feature of the club’s recruitment.
    Despite Jokanovic’s reference to “this guy … sitting in the directors’ box”, Kline does not attend many matches in person. Rather, he watches game footage and is fed statistics on 30 European leagues by the Opta service which he then uses via his own model to analyse potential recruits. He has upset enough people at the club that it would be an easy decision for the Khans to get rid, but they have notably chosen not to.
    Fulham have sold, swapped or released 23 players this summer and brought in 10, including Tomas Kalas on loan from Chelsea and the Iceland centre-back Ragnar Sigurdssson, who scored against England at Euro 2016. All of those incoming have been “Both Boxes Checked”, and Fulham have started the season well after two previous seasons of mediocrity following relegation to the Championship.
    Their next signing looks like it will be Asamoah Gyan, the 30-year-old Ghana captain who is “Both Boxes Checked” and should sign for the club if wages and agents fees are deemed acceptable. The forward has been scouted properly but he would not be joining if he did not check Kline’s boxes, too, whether Jokanovic likes it or not.

  • 4 toontaff2 // Aug 25, 2016 at 9:26 AM

    Leo Tolstoy arrives, in the guise of Jack Root! Must have taken him 150 years to write this sequel………..

  • 5 Sazzer // Aug 25, 2016 at 9:32 AM

    Jib any truth in that link with Ceballos?

    He was one of my transferlist in July when I was looking for players that Rafa could bring from Spain. I later changed Ceballos to Alan Judge when going with players with championship experience only.

    Lucas Perez was on it as well. He’s now linked with Arsenal and couple of other clubs.

  • 6 Mag52 // Aug 25, 2016 at 9:36 AM


    More like an episode of Eastenders.

  • 7 hibbitt // Aug 25, 2016 at 9:36 AM

    neither Rafa or the club are throwing money round and certainly not money we don’t have
    only the fans on here with their endless shopping lists are doing that
    i’m sure Rafa knows who/what he wants and i doubt very much the names being thrown out by the press or the fans on here will have any impact on his choice

  • 8 Rotonda heights // Aug 25, 2016 at 9:37 AM

    shameless click bait headline. desperately disappointing.

  • 9 jimmysmith // Aug 25, 2016 at 9:44 AM

    Jack, I don’t know if Benitez is of a generation to truly embrace “moneyball”, but with the increasingly huge amounts of money in the English game I’m sure there will be more stats and algorithm attached to player recruitment now and in the future.

    I do think though Ashley will continue to expect a sustainable club, and Benitez being extremely experienced and professional will take the time required to fully recognise as much as he can a players worth as well as the teams need, as did Sir Bobby, and as does Arsene Wenger for example, and so will scout correctly, and spend the clubs money thoughtfully.

    I don’t see him lasting long here if he doesn’t.

  • 10 whatsup // Aug 25, 2016 at 10:17 AM

    Wow – our best player last year? Revelation? I don’t think so! He was pants – really – very Average keeper – prob 4th in line now surely…

  • 11 Sav // Aug 25, 2016 at 10:52 AM

    Is it wrong to wish some miserable, carping fellow bloggers would be shipped out with the likes of Saivet, Obertan, Thauvin and Marveaux to ply their trade some place far away?

  • 12 nufconceandfuturekings // Aug 25, 2016 at 11:42 AM

    If true, very pleased indeed with this news for Rob. Justly deserved.

  • 13 benjohnsen // Aug 25, 2016 at 9:55 PM

    We said the same about bassong. He was a star, but we still got relegated. The reason Newcadtle went down is not only McClarens fault. We had and have an awful squad.

    In 2012 we probably had our best squad since the Robson period. Just to paint a picture. Loic Remy was a star for us and by far the best player when he was here, but he’s warming the becnch at Chelsea. Same with Ba. We have gotten used to such a low quality squad that it is scary. Colback and Anita wouldn’t even be rated in the reserve team under Robson.

    I do have faith that Benitez can turn this around over the next three years and even though are squad are awful it is alot better than most Championship teams.

  • 14 stop moaning // Aug 25, 2016 at 11:36 PM

    I agree 4th choice reserve at best. Got a hamstring injury last year…a keeper should never get a hamstring injury he has rubbish fitness and looks fat

  • 15 kingwyn // Aug 26, 2016 at 12:22 AM

    Boring headline post are more so

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