Newcastle are in talks with Bayer Leverkusen over a potential move for Switzerland midfielder Tranquillo Barnetta, if reports in today’s Journal are to be believed.
The Journal “understands” that Newcastle are keen to firm up a long-standing interest in the player by bringing him to St James’ Park as a direct replacement for the seemingly outbound Joey Barton.
However I would exercise caution, like I do with all rumours and “understanding”, and won’t count anything as gospel until something more official appears. As it stands it’s just paper gossip but it would solve one of the problems we have with the squad should Barnetta arrive on the banks of the Tyne.
The 26-year-old scored two goals against England at the back end of last season and drew plaudits for his performance in that game. He’s been capped 59 times for his country and has scored eight goals at international level whilst his club career stats stand at 247 appearances with 37 goals from mainly a right wing position.
Getting in a right winger makes sense, even if it does seemingly have to be at the expense of Joey Barton. We have some brilliant central midfielders and having seen Yohan Cabaye first hand at Leeds I feel confident that he will have no problems adjusting to life in the Premier League alongside Cheik Tiote, which means that the only real place of concern in the middle of the park is that right wing.
What would be better? A central midfielder out on the right? Or a right winger out on the right? Bear in mind that whilst Barton did a brilliant job for us out there for us his assist rate and contribution dried up without Andy Carroll to ping balls to. I’m not muddying Barton here or watering down his contribution, but I do seem to recall people saying that same thing throughout the season.
At the end of the day NUFC have to do something or else we face the very real risk of heading into next season with a weaker squad than the one we finished last season with. Signing someone like Barnetta may inevitably not be the answer, but the player is apparently keen to come and at least it would allow people to make a bit of sense of the whole allowing Joey Barton to go fiasco.
In an ideal world I’d keep Barton and sign Barnetta, but unfortunately it’s not an ideal world.