Is a world class striker really what we need?

World Class, but are they more hassle than they're worth?
As mentioned in my previous article, one of the dominating issues during the summer, was our pursuit of a #9 or a ‘World Class’ striker if you like.

Regardless of how you prefer to define it, our pursuit was less than fruitful as no such player was signed in the end. Much to the annoyance of the fan base and, seemingly, the manager.

Seven games into the new season, with our ‘new’ team playing arguably some of the best football we have seen at our club for years, I’ve started to wonder whether or not it’s world class striker that we really want?

I am not asking the question, because I have no doubt that a 20 goal a season kind of striker would be warmly welcomed by the majority of fans. The reason behind this is because I have a feeling that this kind of player wouldn’t necessarily fit in too well at the moment.

I have been really impressed by the work-ethic and the togetherness of our current squad. As Shamrock touched upon in his previous article, the mentality of players like Peter Lovenkrands and Sylvain Marveaux is a reflection of a team that is all about the ‘team first and the individual second’ mentality.

Apart from Hatem Ben Arfa maybe, we do not have any ”star players” carrying big ego’s. The mentality in the NUFC dressing room seems to have changed a great deal since the departure of Kevin Nolan, Joey Barton and Jose Enrique, and if the early signs are anything to go by, the current dressing room has not only maintained the same strong winning mentality previously imposed by a few strong characters but on top of that is a much more homogene group of players. This is something I find particularly pleasing.

Therefore I believe that the kind of striker we should be looking to bring in should be in the same mould personality wise as our current crop of players. We should undoubtedly always be trying to get the best possible players signed, but I do believe, that we should have a very close look at the potential target’s personalities equally to their footballing qualities.

World Class players come with big personalities, or ego’s if you like, and at the moment I think that this is in no way what we need at the club.

I’ve seen a few suggestions saying that we should put in a loan bid for Carlos Tevez. Tongue in cheek it may be, but let’s take the obvious stumbling block, his wages, out of the equation for a second and just look at the player. His footballing qualities are undoubted, and he certainly warrants the description of a world class striker. Having him feeding of the creative passing of Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye, would certainly get ”bums off seats” (as Pardew says), but if we look at his personality, I find it hard to come up with any player I would rather stay well clear off than him.

As we all know, this is a transfer that would never come off anyway, but he gives a good example of the types of players I would be dreading to get on board as the previously mentioned togetherness and harmony of the dressing room could be negatively affected.

That brings me to our supposed transfer target Modibo Maiga. To most he is a complete unknown. So was Cheik Tiote of course, but the little we do know about Maiga would suggest to me that he too is a player that is best overlooked and left were he is. His actions towards his club, Sochaux, at the closing stages of the transfer window, were absolutely disgraceful. He was signed by the club only a year ago, and on the back of a good debut season and with a Premier League club sniffing around, he went on strike to force through a deal.

Imagine what would happen if we had signed him, and if he became an instant success in his first season here and the ‘bigger’ clubs come calling. Would he then treat us the same way as he treated Sochaux?

In short, and to round things up – I think the atmosphere at our club in general and in the dressing room in particular, is something anyone associated to the club should do everything in their powers to maintain.

Is a World Class striker really what we want? Not in my opinion. I’d much rather we found ourselves another talented, up and coming, hungry player who of course would add to the footballing quality of our team, but would also fit in with the current positivity and the camaraderie that is so refreshing for us fans to witness.

What do you think?

Thanks go to Funkness who sent this in for us to ponder. Do you agree though? Would a huge ego cause a problem? Or is part of being a football club also about being able to manage different types of personality?

45 thoughts on “Is a world class striker really what we need?

  1. It doesn’t matter if we want a “world class” striker or not, we couldn’t get one nor would one come to us.
    Messi’s world class, don’t see any ego problems with him, Bellamy’s not world class, huge ego. It’s the players personality that causes problems, not how great a player they are imo.

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  2. What constitutes a ‘World Class’ striker?

    Football Manager 2010 or the media?

    Leon Best has a goal every 2 games in the best league in the world whilst Torres is not performing. I imagine Torres is ‘World Class’ though?

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  3. Good read Funkness. At the start of the window I was sure we needed a big signing up front, now I’m not convinced. If it is an established 20 goals a season striker that is modest with it then fair enough, but they are like gold dust. With the team spirit we have seen so far, it is vital that we dont get anybody in that will rock the boat too much and has the same hunger and drive. For me, that means a younger striker with lots of potential, a hungry attitude and a willingness to graft for the team.
    If we cant get that this January, I think we should bide our time until the summer and make do with the options we already have. 😛

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  4. On SSN deadline day the pundits were telling us that Fulham has secured the signing of fantatsic player in Bryan Ruiz.

    They never used the word ‘World Class’ but that lad is having a nightmare

    Bryan Ruiz = 12 million
    Demba Ba = 0

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  5. You single out Ben Arfa as a star player, he has not yet prved himself. We have seen signs, but nothing more

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  6. Toonman I think your being a bit quick to judge Ruiz not all players hit the ground running, as we should know.
    Richie I agree mate about the ego bit there is lots of shite players with massive ego’s and a few cracking ones that are modest, its getting the right one.
    I still think we would do far better with a top class No9

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  7. Do we really need a 20-goal-a-season striker if we have two strikers scoring 10+ and a few more goals coming from midfield?

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  8. I am glad we didn’t sign Miagi and Erdinc to be honest. I was hardly jumping out of my seat when they visited Jesmond Dene hotel on 18 seperate occasions.

    Berbatov would have been my signing. Would have loved that.

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  9. I understand what the writer is saying but we shouldn’t be afraid of buying a top player just because he may not fit in to the team spirit at the club.
    We seem to have bought the right kind of good players (and “jolly good eggs” too) recently, so maintaining and using the same, careful research that obviously went into those signings, it shouldn’t be too hard to find a similar character but also one who just happens to be able to knock in a few – with some regularity.
    Just because everything in the garden is rosy squad-wise it shouldn’t mean that we have to put up every season with the likes of Shola and Lovo who quite frankly are not up to Premiership Standard but who happily fit in ‘nicely’ within the framework of the squad.

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  10. MORENO everyone to there own,but you shock me with Berbatov,hes one lazy git a big ego plays when “he” wants to even fergie is shoveing kids in front of him in first team,dont think toon players would put up with him to be honest

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  11. [email protected] says:

    It’s rather unfortunate to note that most of the ‘up and coming hungry players’ do have bigger ambitions and thus, bigger egos. Take Modibo Maiga’s case as an example. Would he be ‘hungry for games’ , knowing that he is going to stay at Sochaux for probably the best part of his career? Does he not have the right to pursue something that is more ambitious and fulfil his dream of playing in a top league?(which he claims the president is refusing to listen to other offers). Although I do not condone Maiga’s actions, I believe he is just badly advised. At least he is much better than some others, as most footballers today are rather sanctimonious, when a certain mickey owen comes to mind.

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  12. we seemed to be linked with maiga and erdinc for a while now, but are we not forgetting about our bid for cisse? he is far better than either of these strikers we have seen. Yes, he is playing in the africa cup of nations but i find that cisse and best are much the same player and best could fill his spot in this time will Ben Arfa could fill the other striker role. He costs a huge amount (i would know i bought him on fifa), but this would massively pay off instead of buying two 8 mil strikers. Its down to you mike

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  13. Toonman
    Two totally different players
    Demba Ba out and out striker who has played 6 months in EPL, whereas Ruiz plays in the free role behind the strikers either as a SS or as a winger who likes to cut in has just played 3 games

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  14. Yes Nudge Just like Albert Luque was before coming to newcastle.
    I have watched Ruiz and will be shocked if he becomes successfull in the premier league.

    Yes he may adapt but he is the type of player than needs more time on the ball and space. he wont get that in the premier league

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  15. I am in the camp that thinks we do need a striker if we are to have ambition above simply the top 10. To be honest, attitude aside, I like the look of this Maiga. Supposedly highly creative and agressive type that would fit right in with our style of play, and who wants to come here. Also the type of player that would be worth a fortune if he works out…

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  16. Spartan @ 8
    It would be far better to have a regular top quality striker who can score 20 goals per season than two who can manage 10+ each.
    Using one prolific guaranteed scorer up front on his own would allow the inclusion of another creative or goalscoring midfielder in the formation.

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  17. Going to throw this out there but if it wasnt for the ACN I would of been quietly confiedent of Ba getting 20+ plus goals this season for us. And I think Best will get over 10 goals this season, not sure if we need a striker at the moment.

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  18. Tacken4mugs spot on because while we are playing the 2 10+ strikers to get the goals we need, we wont be giving Benny the chance to prove what he can do.

    Ice as usual your spot on mate 😉

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  19. Richie, you’re absolutely right. I actually didn’t mean to suggest that any world class player neccessarily carries a big ego not to say a bad personality, but the way i wrote the article certainly makes it appear that way.

    To clarify my opinion:

    As stated in the article, I find it imperative that we make sure, that any new signings will fit into our current dressing room personality wise. As Toonsy asked – shouldn’t a football club be able to handle different types of personalities? Certainly. But at the present time, I would much rather attempt to further strenghten the togetherness of the squad, than signing a high maintainance type of player. There is a reason behind the relaxed and level-headed attitude that comes out of the dressing room at the moment. Of course the good results make it a hell lot easier for the players to come into the training ground with a smile on their face, but for me the main reason is the departure of the big ego’s, Nolan and Barton in particular.
    All world class strikers don’t neccessarily come with big ego’s, but a player with a big reputation and a hefty price tag on his shoulders would probably expect to play week in week out. If he delivers, then all is well, but I would still prefer to get someone who would have the same humble work ethics as a player like Marveaux. A player like that would be easier to handle, as a series of bad performances and a few games on the bench wouldn’t cause unrest in the dressing room. A player like that would get his head down and try everything in his powers to get back into the starting 11.

    Maybe I should have left the whole ‘world class striker’ part out of the article and just reduced it to being about players personalities ..

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  20. Dave and ice,

    I was thinking more of a realistic target. Berbatov would have came for the right money but I doubt Sturridge would have. Sturridge would have been out of our league.

    Ice, think that is a bit of a misconception after his performances all last season. He was immense and worked hard for the team.

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  21. I tend to agree with rich that its about personality rather than reputation. This is what id hope our scouts look at when eyeing up new players 😉

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  22. Shane Ferguson featuring on skysports heavily today about international eligibility.

    Norn want him to play but he’s away on holiday or something?

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  23. Moreno – I see what you mean about Berba, he did work his behind off last season and came up with the goods. Not so sure his age is a problem as he is all about class finishing and vision, so losing pace is not something we would need to worry about. However, his wages are probably sky high and I cant see our board being willing to match anywhere near what he earns at his age…

    Reckon he would do well for us though.

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  24. Agreed, Toonsy (and Richie before that). In Carr we trust, and if he believes Maiga is our guy, then so be it. I just found the early signs a tad worrying .. Thanks for posting the article btw (and for your bit of magic in regards to the language) – makes me look a half decent “English” writer .. 😉

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  25. I cover that a bit in my next article Moreno. I think he’s holding out for a call up to the Republic…

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  26. A real good read. I’m delighted with the team, backroom staff and Alan Pardew.
    Pardew especially has performed really well. I was far from delighted when he was appointed but he has gone about his business quietly and confidently whilst not being afraid to have his say.
    I’m with you, a prima donna we don’t need. I young skilled enthusiast would fit the bill.

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  27. Berba on loan in January, pay half his wages. Job done.

    Quality stirker, point to prove, die hard toon fan, no risk on a loan.

    Also, not held to ransom in january over transfer fees

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  28. Moreno – Nah. Pardew is rubbish man. Whatever it is you can bet it has nothing to do with his team tactical adjustments. The players hate him so I reckon they are getting the results to spite him 😉

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  29. Moreno – Berba would be just great. During the summer I thought it would be unrealistic but now . . . would he want to leave even if Fergie would sell or loan? Big step down from CL to mid table hopefuls. The other one I thought of (typical NUFC fantasies) was Bobby Zamora.

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  30. MORENO,on berbatov think we have to agree to dis-agree mate,not my cup of tea for a few reasons and not a toon type player for my money,sorry lke 😉

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  31. Funkness…..yep “world class” is a huge statement, imo England don’t have any at all imo, Rooney possibly Rooney.
    A good article though and has got a bit of debate going which is what it’s all about 😀

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  32. GEORGIO, they played in a diffrent set up all together mate,pardew is trying to sign players that fit a certain type of system,horses for coarses and all that.ie he talked about he was sorry to lose the likes of nolan,joey,ect to me that was a canny front he has to say these type of things he has to keep players happy thats left at the club.
    on ginola,asprilla,i loved them great to watch gave us some great times,but at the end of the day what did we win?

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  33. Wor Benny and Ba did the same thing as tevez and maiga, yet are still a good part of the famed team spirit.
    You can’t judge the personallities of players unless you meet them personally. I trust that those in charge are good judges of characters as they’ve done well with who they’ve brought in so far.
    As far as needing a world class striker, that depends on your ambition, but at this stage I’d like the club to bring in a couple that could become a world class striker vs buying someone established.

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  34. As soon as you put the title world class striker on someone their price tag immediately goes through the roof so we won’t be buying a world class striker with Ashley as owner. We can play good football without one and I would assume we will be looking for a high quality striker who is fairly young, so early in his career and therefore willing to accept much smaller wages. Eventually even with Llambias involved we may even find one. I am watching Ba with interest and praying he doesn’t get any serious injuries. If he continues to play well it will take pressure of management and allow them to choose another good young striker (hopefully). Still would have preferred to be in a position to be able to move both Peter and Shola on as they are now of an age where they won’t be getting better, just older and especially in Shola’s case more and more injury prone.

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  35. Mevlüt Erdinç at PSG…weren’t we interested in him ? Maybe he’s injured, but the bloke cannot even make the bench for the neets game against Jarmany…looks like we saved some money there then….

    Maybe we’ll pick up Maiga on the cheap in January ?

    Berbatov….giveower man….no way he’d come to the toon. He’s done it and seen it all….is on “Michael Owen” mode, just running down the clock and pulling in the big wedge at the same time…no ambition…

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  36. Leon Best plays for ROI (or he should do but their manager’s a moron) Similarly Ba is also a common international, are they not both world class? 😀

    In reality, we won’t get anyone like Suarez or Aguero or Tevez even if we did stump up the transfer fee, which I doubt we would, and we’d never match their wages or ambitions. Also, not all top strikers are pricks, so meh. Plenty of pricks in the lower leagues anyway.

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  37. Does anyone remember that we supposedly had talks with Gervinho and turned him down because of his attitude or personality or something, which made us all laugh our asses off because it was just an obvious coverup for Ashley being too cheap?

    ???

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