What happens to Hatem Ben Arfa after transfer window?

Hatem Ben Arfa tussles for posession with Luke Shaw of Southampton

Benny – How he and the man beside him have enjoyed different summers

Hatem Ben Arfa – where to start? The Frenchman is without doubt one of the most exciting players I’ve ever seen in Black and White. The sense of excitement when he received the ball on either flank and looked to drive at defenders. His ability to spot a pass, or indeed use his yard of pace to burst clear of a couple of challenges and leave his markers for dead. Those were the good days under Hatem Ben Arfa. 2014 hasn’t been as enjoyable as the 27 year-old is currently frozen out of the first team with the Newcastle hierarchy looking to offload him at the nearest opportunity. Offers for his services have arrived from Russia and beyond, but Ben Arfa has turned down all approaches citing a desire to stay on Tyneside and hopefully regain a starting role if manager Alan Pardew is finally shown the door.

Mr. Pardew being sacked is an entirely different matter though, and probably wishful thinking on Ben Arfa’s part. Whatever way you look at, it paints a sad picture for an undoubtedly talented footballer that could have reached the very top-level of his profession with the right attitude.

Few Newcastle fans will forget some of his goals in a Newcastle jersey. Superb solo efforts against Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers … Continue Reading …

Alan Pardew has a big decision to make

Papiss Cisse in action against Crystal Palace

Cisse – Currently recovering from a nasty knee injury suffered last season

Few football fans will ever forget Papiss Cissé’s incredible effort against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge during the 2011/12 Premier League season. The Senegalese international rifled an almost physics-defying ‘banana effort’ over Petr Cech’s head and into the back of the net to complete one of the best Premier League braces I have seen in quite some time. After that season came to a close, the real Cissé seemed to disappear. Following Newcastle United’s exit from the Europa League to Benfica at the Quarter-finals stage, Papiss failed to find any real form and the club’s season suffered from then on – narrowly avoiding relegation. The 2013/14 season started brightly with NUFC coming within touching distance of the Champions League places at Christmas, however, this form was purely down to the on-loan Loic Rémy, and a ever-present classy Yohan Cabaye.

Fastforward to August 2014 and as Newcastle prepare for another Premier League campaign, hopes are somewhat higher on Tyneside that the season previous. With a handful of smart signings, Newcastle are giving themselves every opportunity of a crack at the Top 6/8, however, the ability of the manager charged with the task is another matter.

Despite the new arrivals, there is still a void that needs filling – the centre-forward position. Emmanuel Riviere will of course lead the line for the … Continue Reading …

Examining Newcastle’s potential defensive partnerships ahead of the new season

Fabricio Coloccini in action against Real Sociedad

Coloccini – Sporting a rare Newcastle United Members jersey against Real Sociedad

Newcastle United finished off their pre-season campaign with a narrow 1-0 victory over Spanish side Real Sociedad at St. James’ Park courtesy of a goal from Moussa Sissoko two minutes from time. The game – streamed live by the visitors on their officials club website – fans who did not have the pleasure of attending the game in person, were able to watch Newcastle’s new signings in action on the hallowed turf of St. James’ as the Toon get ready to host Manchester City in a weeks time. Although the summer transfer window marked a successful recruitment drive from the club, many suggest that a new centre-back is needed to shore up a leaky back-line. Fabricio Coloccini, Mike Williamson, Steven Taylor, and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa make up the four senior central defenders at the club, and truth be told – there is only one proven, quality first teamer among the aforementioned names. Add to that the fact that manager Alan Pardew tried his best of sell Mbiwa this window, only for a number of sides to cool their interest in recent weeks.

Newcastle United need a new CB, but they won’t sign one before the end of the window, unless some drastic changes between then. Somehow, QPR managed to complete the signing of Steven Caulker from Cardiff for a … Continue Reading …

Is Romelu Lukaku to Newcastle United that unrealistic?

Romelu Lukaku scores for Everton against Newcastle at Goodison Park

Lukaku – Scoring one of many goals against Newcastle United last season

I posed a question on Twitter a couple of days ago about what direction Newcastle United can now go in their pursuit of another forward. Their main targets this summer: Loic Rémy and Alexandre Lacazette have all confirmed that their futures lie elsewhere, and Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, who has long been admired by officials at St. James’ Park, does not look any closer to an exit from the Bundesliga despite reports that he could be obtained for as little as £7m this summer. This leads me to another man who Alan Pardew has wanted for quite some time: Romelu Lukaku of Chelsea. The Belgian was subject to an loan-bid from Newcastle last season only for the club to be told that he wasn’t allowed to leave. As we know all know, Lukaku later pushed through a loan-move which saw him end up at Goodison Park and do very well.

The eyes of world football were fixed on Romelu Lukaku at the 2014 World Cup and he had a very frustrating tournament, nabbing just one goal, in extra-time, against a United States out on their feet. Apart from that, he was rather disappointing – but that hardly comes as a shock as there was too much expectation on his own shoulders, and that of his nation, Belgium.

Lukaku’s future has been up in the air ever since he joined Everton on loan, and with the arrival of Diego Costa at Stamford Bridge in a big-money … Continue Reading …