We expect Sam to sign Joey Barton (pending), Ben Haim, David Rozehnal, Derek Boateng and Leighton Baines — probably in that order and think most of these are tied up. Of course we already have Mark Viduka in the bag and expect Ben Haim and Rosehnal to be announced as Newcastle United players early next week. But we do believe that all six players will eventually sign for Newcastle United.
New players that Sam has been reported after – and we’ll have to keep an eye on these – include the following:
- Ludovic Giuly — 30 year old Frenchman from Barcelona — competition will come from Marseille, Monaco, Fiorentina and Juventus. Ludo has been made aware of Newcastle’s interest.
- Craig Bellamy — news broke in last couple of days — he’d be expensive at 8M — but only coming if Owen goes we suspect. We feel that he would definitely come back to Newcastle.
- El-Hadji Diouf is a possible alternative target to Giuly for the role of right-sided attacker in Allardyce’s favored 4-3-3 formation — to give James Milner some competition. We’re sure Diouf would jump at the chance of teaming up with Sam again but apparently Diouf may be out of contract next summer so Sam may wait until January to make a cut-price bid. (Good thinking!). But here’s another dodgy character that Sam wants in — but he did handle him well at Bolton — but El-Hadji Diouf makes Bellamy look like a choir boy on the field
- Luke Young — Charlton right back — Sam has apparently registered his interest in the 27 year old. Rumor has it Luke doesn’t get along with Curbishley and the transfer dee hopefully is modest — we were thinking around 2M (?).
- Habib Beye, the Marseille right-back has also entered Allardyce’s thinking as he looks to bolster a defense which has performed badly for longer than we care to imagine.
Meanwhile, Joey Barton’s pay-off wrangle with Manchester City won’t stand in the way of him joining Newcastle, according to his agent, Willie McKay. That’s good news and with all the adverse publicity over the weekend we think Joey will ensure this saga comes to a quick end early next week.
Sam also talked about the Michael Owen situation — or should we call it saga – which has caused lots of press reports today but Sam’s quote is what we already knew.
“There’s nothing I can do about it. We are benefiting from a release clause to get Joey Barton, but could suffer because of Michael’s.”
The saving grace for Newcastle (is it really that — we should probably ditch him now if he really wants to leave) is that top clubs will probably want proof of his fitness — as Benitez of Liverpool has been quoted as saying. There’s an article on Owen on the Newcastle United Blog.
Finally, Newcastle United are still trying to sort out their pre-season fixtures and a tournament in South Africa they had planned to compete in has fallen through.
“South Africa has also fallen by the wayside.
By the looks of it now, we’re going to play all our pre-season games in this country. That means I will try to sort out a seven to 10-day conditioning break abroad, so that we can all come together and all get to know each other. Of course, a lot of the players know each other anyway, as do a lot of the staff.
It’s just a case of getting them to work the way I want us to work, and sort out the day to day things – stuff like the time we start training, how we train, what meetings do we have.
It’s also to start working with the players not just out on the training field, but also in the video analysis rooms, and start showing them some data that will help them understand a bit more about what we have to do to cover the marathon that we start on August 11.”
It’s nice to see Sam talking about building the team spirit at Newcastle. One thing we liked about Bolton was the players never gave up – and they performed always at 100% effort – especially when Sam showed himself on the touch line.
We want that same passion and commitment at Newcastle….starting with the first game next season – August 9th.