As much as I’d love to think Mike is like an excited little kid at Christmas with our new found good form, thus causing him to open the cheque book on all fronts, I think we all know that won’t be the case.
With that in mind I did a little bit of digging to see whose contract is running out at the end of the season but more so, who fits the criteria, under 27, ideally scouted, long term targets, you know the drill.
Some listed below don’t fall into the latter mentioned criteria but are players I’m somewhat aware of and think might be up to scratch, although some more knowledgeable than myself may be able to correct me if I’m wrong.
Anyway, lets get the ball rolling, starting with defenders…..
Douglas Teixeira of FC Twente. 24 year old centre back we have been linked with for a good while now. Most will be aware of his potential and chances are there will be competition for his signature come the summer, but would be a massive signing if we could pull it off.
Mathias Jorgensen of FC o. 21 year old centre back better known as ‘Zanka’. Newcastle were linked with him in the summer but not in January, maybe there’s a reason for that I’m not aware of but anyway. He is a monster of a man and rated very highly with English and European clubs looking at him over the past couple of years.
Kostas Manolas of AEK Athens. 20 year old centre back who came close to a move to Everton in January, only for the transfer of Jelavic to scupper the deal. Another Newcastle were linked with in the past and may feel slightly miffed at Everton for what happened. The AEK chairman has also confirmed that Everton face stiff competition for his signature in the summer.
Nathaniel Clyne of Crystal Palace. 20 year old right back who we all know about at this stage. Heavily linked with Newcastle since last summer and hotly tipped to be a top right back in the future, could our long standing interest have a bearing on his decision once his contract runs out?
Matthew Bates of Middlesbrough. 25 year old centre back and captain who was linked along with Rhys Williams in January. Boro have tried to tie their captain down to a new deal but with no success as yet, and failure to secure promotion would surely spell the end of his spell there.
As for midfielders….
Mohamed Diamè of Wigan. 24 year old defensive midfielder who despite Wigan’s poor form has looked very promising. Another whose future may hinge on the outcome to their season and as much as Perch has won a few fans over deputising for Tiote during his absence, Diamè is simply a better all round player.
Lewis McGugan of Nottingham Forest. 23 year old attacking midfielder with a knack of scoring absolute belters and someone Newcastle tried to sign in the summer but Forest were looking for too much. Heard he is not having a great season but could be somewhat down to being unsettled and if available for free would certainly strengthen our back-up options.
Alan Dzagoev of CSKA Moscow. 21 year old attacking midfielder who has been linked with some top English clubs in the past year or so including Man Utd. May be out of our league due to level of competition and CSKA I’m sure are offering big money for him to stay but as we saw with the signing of Cabaye in the summer, Newcastle are well capable of punching what some would say is above our weight in the transfer market these days.
Sotiris Ninis of Panathinaikos. 21 year old versatile midfielder and someone who seems very highly rated given I only became aware of him of late. Like Dzagoev, rumour has it plenty are lining up to secure his services but again, in Graham Carr we trust and if he is on the hitlist we have a chance.
Shikabala of Zamalek. 25 year old versatile attacking midfielder who Newcastle were linked with last summer, confirmed by the player at the time, but nothing seemed to materialize. Not a fan of youtube scouting but looked a very handy player if I remember correctly and would make more than adequate back-up for those already at the club.
Tranquillo Barnetta of Bayer Leverkusen. 26 year old versatile winger and a name we all know too well at this stage. We have been linked with this lad for coming on four years I think, and for one reason or another, usually injury on his part, nothing ever comes of it. I don’t expect it to in the summer either to be honest but you never know. Whatever happens I won’t believe it until I see him holding up the jersey.
David Hoilett of Blackburn. 21 year old, highly rated and looks the real deal. Again, someone Newcastle have been heavily linked with for the past year and could face stiff competition for come the summer but nevertheless is a player who is definitely on our radar and would be a great signing if we could convince him St. James’ is the place to be.
Salomon Kalou of Chelsea. 26 year old attacking midfielder slash forward who looks set to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season. Maybe I’m missing something but any time I have watched Kalou he looks a good player, just doesn’t seem to get a look in at Chelsea even despite their poor form and lack of goals this season. Strange one, but someone I’d definitely love to see come to Tyneside.
Finally, the forwards……
Hugo Rodallega of Wigan. 26 years old striker who has been linked with a move away ever since last summer. Newcastle were said to be one of the interested parties, and given he could be free at the end of the season could well still be in the hunt, but he has had a poor season to say the least, certainly by his standards and may one who could flop at a big club.
Edgar Da Silva of Vitoria Guimaraes. 25 year old versatile forward who apparently was on the radar of Sir Alex Ferguson until he got Hernandez and was later recommended to Alan Pardew as a good signing. Now that could be nothing but speculation as a lot of transfer rumours are but from the little I have seen would make decent back up for our Senegalese strike duo.
Eder Lopes of Academica. 24 year old versatile forward who was linked with both Newcastle and Arsenal in the summer. Again, not a big fan of youtube clips to judge players but one thing I did notice about this lad was his first touch and link up play. It’s been a while but I remember being impressed and very surprised I hadn’t heard of him before. Another who would make for very good back up for our first choice strikers.
Jay Rodriguez of Burnley. 22 year old forward Newcastle were linked with late on in the January transfer window. Although I have known the name since he was in his teeens, not a player I have seen much of to be honest but 18 goals in 37 games this season suggests he is decent enough. Once more, as a back up option may well be worth a punt, especially considering his age and potential sell on valu if it doesn’t work out.
Last one, Yaya Sanogo of Auxerre. 19 year old striker which I know the FIFA heads will be buzzing about as he apparently turns into one of the best players in the game. Not my style of judging players. What I do know is he is someone who, before his long term injury last season and some of this, was being tracked by some of Europes top clubs. He may still be on the big gun hitlist but maybe the injury caused a few to look elsewhere and a potential star of the future could be snapped up for free.
Of course there are a lot more whose contracts run out at the end of the season and I’m sure we’ll hear many a name linked with us between now and then, but for now, that is a mixture of who has been linked with Newcastle in the past and who I think just might be attainable given they’l be free transfers.
If nothing else, it just shows you don’t have to spend big to improve. Major squad strengthening is the next step to consistent European contention for Newcastle and a lot of those players would fit the bill.
As I said, in Graham Carr I trust, but I really hope a few listed above are on his radar for the summer.
Who would you like to see in black and white come next season?