Do Newcastle need to invest to remain in European contention?

Guthrie proving the doubters wrong
A lot has been talked about with regard to the strength of depth in the Newcastle squad just whether we would be able to sustain our challenge, of remaining in the top four in the Premier League table, or not.

At the start of the transfer window, there where many stating the necessity of a new striker, yet, perhaps many of us didn’t realise quite the underestimated talent we had in this department.

Players like Demba Ba and Leon Best who can partner each other, or play alone up front as target men have both impressed, while we have the experienced Shola Ameobi as backup for this type of role if needed.

Then we have our link up players, taking up the traditional, no 10 role.

Hatem Ben Arfa has only just recently managed to break into the starting line-up, and has shown glimpses of what he is capable of, without quite getting into his full stride yet.

We also have the likes of 18-year-old, Haris Vuckic, who after an extremely exciting pre-season picked up an unfortunate hand injury, but he too should be returning soon, and with the supposed signing of Modibo Maiga being called a “done deal” by the local press, I doubt any supporters could accuse the squad of being short of numbers and quality up front.

Then we look at our midfield. Many fans were saying that if there were injuries to Yohan Cabaye and Cheik Tiote we would be in trouble, yet both players have had their spells on the sideline so far this season, and we haven’t suffered too noticeably with the absence of either.

Danny Guthrie, and to a smaller degree Dan Gosling have been their to fill the void. Specifically Guthrie, whose performances will no doubt have caused a major selection headache for Alan Pardew, when Cheik Tiote returns from his groin injury.

Even James Perch has done a decent enough job of protecting the back four in his cameo appearances.

On the wings, we have the workmanlike Gabby Obertan and Jonas Guiterez, who have both shown tremendous workrate and stamina, and have both offered a lot in terms of being a pacey counter attacking threat, or outlets when moving the ball out from defence into attack. Meaning we can finally look dangerous on both flanks.

There may be the odd criticism of both players when it comes to their final delivery, but I think on the whole, both have contributed greatly to our great start this season.

In the event of their injury, or fatigue, we have been able to call upon Sylvain Marvaeux (who unfortunately just sustained a long term injury himself) and the exciting young Sammy Ameobi, who has impressed with his skill and confidence to run at the opposition defences.

We also have young Shane Ferguson back in the fold, who raised a few eyebrows with his energetic displays down the left flank toward the end of last season.

Again, with the supposed signing of Maiga, who himself can play on either flank or up front, we seem pretty much covered in the wide areas.

Which brings us to look at our threadbare defence, where there perhaps is a concern, but certainly not with regard to quality as we currently boast the best defensive record in the league, along with Liverpool and Manchester City, but what if we lost Steven Taylor to injury, or even worse, what if we lost Coloccini?

Well, Mike Williamson is back in training, or will be shortly, and he has proved a more than capable deputy to Steven Taylor. I would not, however, want to lose the seemingly indestructible Captain Colo, as I don’t see James Perch or Tomas Kadar stepping in to fill that void.

So, a quality centre back needed then!

As for our fullbacks, with Davide Santon, being dubbed as one of the most exciting signings of the summer, the form of Ryan Taylor has seen him kept on the bench, having to wait for his chance. This surely indicates, at the very least, that we have some depth in the left back position. With both Raylor and Santon being able to play naturally as right full backs, either one could fill in for Danny Simpson, if he were to slip in form or get injured.

We also know Dan Gosling is capable of filling in as a full back if needed.

Having said all that, I think ideally, a quality defender who can fill in both the fullback and centre-back roles would be more than adequate. Dutchman Erik Pieters would be the obvious choice for many, but Liam Ridgewell wouldn’t be a bad shout for a January transfer purchase either.

As for goalkeepers, Tim Krul has been simply outstanding, and with the reliable Steve Harper, back at the club, we have some real quality between the posts.

All in all, I’d say the squad is looking stronger in quality and depth than it has for a long time.

Pardew has stated he is looking to bring in a striker and a defender this January. Whether he gets them or not, we’ll only know in January.

My question to you however, is…

Is the squad quality stronger that you thought at the start of the season? Or do you believe we will be found out because of lack of depth as the season goes on and inevitable injuries are picked up?

[poll id=”54″]

About JJ

Toon supporter since 1993. Living in South Africa. I’ve been following Newcastle since the days of Andy Cole and Peter Beardsley. Despite all the turmoil recently, the passion only grows with time.

30 thoughts on “Do Newcastle need to invest to remain in European contention?

  1. lee_ryder Lee Ryder
    #nufc have postponed Gary Speed tribute at request of Louise Speed who wishes to be present at the game when it happens

    lee_ryder Lee Ryder
    Tribute will now take place against Swansea, #nufc will still have a minute’s applause v #chelsea

    yes we havnt the squad to keep it going,plus if we do make europe,ashley will have to dig deep.


  2. Interesting article. I do think we need a couple of players to come in though. You forgot to mention the African Cup. We will be losing both Tiote and Demba Ba when that takes place. I don’t know if Best can step up in Ba’s absence. As for Modibo Maiga, wouldn’t he be lost to the African Nations Cup as well?

    On the wings, I like Sammy, great prospect for the future, but still very young. Not a fan of Obertan and believe we stil need to find a 1st team player for the right wing. As for Jonas, he is in fine form. But who is going to cover for him with this suspension? Ryan Taylor will definatly be exposed this weekend without Jonas. Just hope that it’s not Sturridge playing on their right wing!

    In defence, I’d still like to see Santon play instead of R.Taylor. And we could probably do with some cover or competition to Simpson. But none of that matters if we lose Colo, irreplaceable.

    So I think we still need about 3 players to come in for us to stay in the top 7, and hopefully get a european position for next year.


  3. Absolutely, one injury to either centre half and we’re all over the place.

    Nice touch by Gary Speeds widow asking to pay tribute to him at a game where she will be present. Well publicised that they really didn’t want to move away from the area and she must have a real emotional tie with the club for her to request this.


  4. Hitman…Great that his wife will be there, I’ll be home for that game too so I’m glad I’ll be able to pay my respects.


  5. Stoke are about on their knees due to the European campaign and our squad couldnt cope with a decent cup run at the moment, a few additions would be most welcome and hopefully Pardew has proved to the board that he is worth gambling on.


  6. ….striker (preferably pacy and tricky on the ball) and a centre back who can also fill in at full back for me, and I’ll be happy. Providing nobody of any importance leaves, then it’d be the aforementioned two, plus replacements for whoever leaves.

    I ain’t holding mi breath though. 😐


  7. Good article..
    First of all , my vote is for 2 quality signings in January and I think we can push on.
    I also think that the club are doing it all very astutely as they go along because although a lot of fans think we are threadbare, squad wise, I don;t think we are quite as threadbare as some believe.

    My reasons are simple… I think the club are nurturing the young talent with the full emphasis of making the numbers up with them so they ‘sooner’ rather than ‘later’ push for first team places.

    I believe we will always sign 1 or 2 quality additions from wherever but I don’t think we will go all out adding numbers just for the sake of it.

    If you look at the youngsters and fringe players….we seem to have better quality than we even believe.

    Granted, we are no Barcelona but we are a competent side that can give any side int his league a game and that is with key players missing.

    Even James Perch is proving to be better than many think he is…
    ‘m not saying he’s any first team regular or top quality player but he does the job when asked and does it well.

    We could go on and on about what quality we need in whatever positions as of NOW but we all know that you cannot just assemble a squad …an in depth squad just by saying, ‘oh, just go out and add as many as needed’

    This is where the kids come in and what makes our squad bigger than we think.

    Take a look at Liverpools squad and the youngsters that get some game time and look quality…

    We have exactly the same but many fans tend to drop them from their radar and concentrate on the so called bare bones top quality we have to replace what we believe is our first 11.

    Guthrie, Gosling, Marveaux, Vuckic, Ferguson, Kadar, Abheid, Perch e.t.c e.t.c can come in, or have come in …In Guthries case, he’s done excellent…Marveaux has proved he’s capable until injury set him back and now Perch comes in to do a job of shoring up.

    Gosling has a lot to prove but we can see he’s got what it takes and I think it’s just mind with him.

    Abheid comes with a quality tag and will soon explode on the scene as will many others…

    We aren’t as short as we think…we are only threadbare if you keep mentioning ” what if he gets injured” and “him” and “him” ….

    Just my opinion mind. 😀


  8. We definitely need a centre back – don’t rate the rather weak Williamson. Having said that, I thought the same thing about Raylor and Simpson at the start of the season, Now, if we really wanted a top four spot we’d need 2 fullbacks, CB and a striker with quick feet. And no sales!!!!!


  9. Must admit I forgot about ACN when I voted for the 2nd one [holding what we have] and I do think we’ll struggle to score without Demba, not so worried about Tiote now although we will be threadbare during the ACN competition. Still think that we are as good as any outside Citeh, Manure & possibly spuds. The dippers are beginning to look good as are the arse but i still think we can compete at their level. We’ll know better of the russians tomorrow but I think without sturrige they’re fairly pedestrian….so we need to knobble him early doors!!


  10. The club are close to breaking even and as del boy loved telling everyone after Caroll went last season “Its not like Mike needs the money” So there is no reason to sell anyone, He can rake back his loan easily over the course of the next couple of years.

    It would be nice to see fat mick at least try to keep the position by letting pards bring in another centre half, a full back and a pacy striker…


  11. Good point from Robert: having a squad to QUALIFY for Europe is very different from having one that can COMPETE when you get there.

    We may be 2 players short on the former, but we’re probably half a dozen short of the latter. I suspect the club knows that, though and if we qualify they will know the investment will probably pay off.


  12. I agree that the squad isn’t as shallow as some make out. We do have cover for all positions, it’s just that in places the drop in quality is bigger than others. That’s all Pards can do each window – close that gap between 1st-choice and backup and where possible improve the 1st choice option.

    We always thought we’d get to this time of year and injuries would start to eat away at points, and that will probably happen. Look at how arse, bindippers and chelski have closed the gap on us recently and spuds have gone past.

    After tomorrow we only have 2 of those “real test” games in the next 10, so we should start to pull ahead again. After that it’s a fairly even mix of opposition so I think by the beginning of Feb we’ll know roughly where we’ll end up.


  13. How about swaping Williamson for Ridgewell and bringing in Pieters . With Santon being able to cover RB and Pieters LB and CB we would be doubled up across the back 4 with a few quality international capped players . Would prefer us to bring in a non African striker so he can come straight in to cover BA when the Africa Cup is underway .


  14. :mrgreen: Bollocks. Just checked and Flybe can’t get me to the QPR game in January without me staying over 3 nights and taking 2 days of work. Looks like an 800 mile drive for me. 🙁

    Anyone fancy taking a seat from Devon to Toon that weekend? Pay towards fuel (LPG so quite cheap)? Oh, and it’s a supercharged Jag, so a bit comfy


  15. Agree with wolfie @ 9. would like to see Vukic, Ferguson and Abheid on the bench at least in the near future.


  16. Need investment of two players, wouldn’t want to reply on a Guthrie / Gosling partnership although they’re good enough to cover Tiote / Cabaye
    striker and centre half for me

    Think Simpson will be sold in Jan, he still hasn’t signed a contract and I can’t see Ashley letting him run it down so we might need cover there as well


  17. I dont think it is a case of adding players its just replacing players like Lovenkrands and smith with quality signings in the summer, but obviously we need to add 1 or 2 players definatly a striker and a left back who can play centre half ala Pieters, then i think we will be sorted although would love another a player like Sullejmani from ajax.

    Excited for tomorrow come on the Toon !!!!!!!!!


  18. Was a bit disapointed when I first heard the speed tribute was being postponed but when i heard that Mrs Speed had requested it so that she could be there to watch it, I thought it was fair.


  19. Agree with Robert and Whumpie we need players if we are going to be competitivie when (not if) we get into Europe. Stoke has been terrible in the league this year with all those extra games and look at what a cup run did to Birmingham. Agree we have good youngsters but they can only be used for short periods, not as replacements for injured senior players. I like Willo but he isn’t strong enough for the Prem. Get a big strong centre back, a pacy striker and a good utility player at least. Another thought about Tiote. What if he is healthy but already had his head turned and Pardew is now seeing how well we play without him for an extended period? I hope not but my guess is Chelsea will go after him to pair with Mata. Look for changes to our lineup in January, and not all positive. I think a 2-2 draw against Chelsea with Ba scoring at least one.


  20. i think that there will be outbound and inbound in january. i had hoped that simmo would sign on again but that now seems to be gettign no closer so my guess is he will be sold and with luck pieters will be in at LB and santon over on the right berth.
    I am praying that colo signs on again but that one is starting to have a very familiar shape to it. if we look back, every player we have either signed or re-signed were done in mega fast speed. all the ones that dragged on ended up leaving.
    Tiote i think will be sold on, i have no basis for this other than i think that the club will just not be able to turn down a 25 million offer.
    I think we will be from 6th – 10th also this season.


  21. Pretty much agree with everything you said Craig @24. Very worried about Colo. Very difficult to replace him without spending big money which we never do under Ashley (remember Colo was the WOW signing at 10.3 million I think). There are no cheap replacements available with significant experience. Not sure about Simpson but agree it doesn’t look good. To me he has significantly improved during his time with us. What is the problem with Santon? No playing time at all? Doesn’t make sense to me unless Pardew has no confidence in him at all. Who knows what Ashley and Llambias think about all this. They are too busy trying to find some new places at St. James to put Sports Direct signs. Maybe Llambias should take one of the larger ones and put it where the sun doesn’t shine.


  22. i think that Ap never wanted santon and thats the truth. pieters was the one AP wanted, jesus, just three days before we signed santon AP was in holland at the game sitting next to Pieters agent ffs. I think that AP is saying to the board i wanted a specialist LB to fill the big hole left by jose and that was pieters, not a LB or RB player. The obvious thing to do is have simmo, santon and Pieters with santon the cover bouncing between the two. we just know it aint going to happen though as there is no way we will have any player worth any money as a back up or squad player. Santon cost 5 million or something and although thats bugger all for most prem clubs with aspirations of anything other than relegation, our club will look upon that kind of value player has a first choice. if tiote goes i think we can fill the gap without much problem, the back four has to be the main worry as we head into january, with two of our back four running down their gigs with AP already issuing statements like ‘ sign or you will have to move on”… something has godda give. And do we think ashley will give?


  23. careful goerdietwo.. you will have that fukwit toonchicken ranting if you speak out of turn with his views. lol lol


  24. LIke I said, in the article. A versitile defender and a striker and I think seventh place is virtually garaunteed.
    Having watched our oppostion for 7th I think they are very short on quality, especially a club like Stoke who spent so much but yet offer so little.

    I’d rather we brought in fewer numbers of quality and allowed our youngsters a chance to develop than brought in experience just for the sake of it.


  25. JJ i would be happy with bringing in just pieters, signing up colo and simmo and keeping everyone. Is that too much to ask from nufc baord do you think?


  26. Unfortunately I see Pieters being too expensive for our board and think Simmo will go because they will use his goof form to sell him for a decent price. Plus they already have Santon to replace him.
    I think if we lose any of the back four and Tiote, as I’d invision US leaking far more goals. But with this board you just never can be certain.

    For just one season Is like us to keep what we have and compete. I hate the January transfer window.


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