Rumours emerged yesterday of an imminent deal for a French Ligue 2 midfielder, confirmed today by the same source and revealed as Romain Amalfitano of Reims.
Like most, I know next to nothing of him bar being an attacking midfielder, 22, French and out of contract at the end of the season.
If reports are to be believed, a pre-agreed contract will be sealed by early next week and if so, Romain will link up with the Newcastle squad once the summer window opens.
It’s great to see Newcastle are working hard on deals for the summer already and at this stage we all have full faith in Graham Carr’s ability to find diamonds in the rough, but an obvious positive could bring with it a possible negative.
To my knowledge Amalfitano is a central midfielder, versatile maybe, but more than likely bought for squad depth in the centre, certainly not one for the future given his age.
Taking this to be the case, surely someone is on their way out the door to make room, and given the fact Danny Guthrie’s contract is up in the summer, will it be him?
Recent stories have surfaced that the major problem with Danny’s contract talks is the fact that he is unwilling to play second fiddle to Tiote and Cabaye, or anyone else for that matter, and wants to be playing first team football.
This would ring true taking into account Guthrie’s recent interview with The Chronicle in which he spoke of his good form, stating that he deserves to be in the first team against Wolves and maybe beyond.
There is no doubt Guthrie has impressed, surpassing most supporters expectations of him when called upon in Tiote or Cabaye’s absence, but simple fact of it is, even on top form he is not in the same class as either of the aforementioned.
Tiote is a different type of player and statistically essential to Newcastle’s defensive solidity where as Danny is more of a passing midfielder who likes to drive forward.
Cabaye is much more of a directly comparable player. Both are very similar in style but in my opinion Cabaye has more to his game, and is one of our players of the season, especially considering it is his first season in England.
Given that our other central midfield options are young talents on long term contracts and Romain Amalfitano is an attacking midfielder, logic suggests that Guthrie could be the one to make way.
Some may see this as quite a large negative and I would tend to agree, but the reality is it is extremely difficult to keep back up squad players happy, especially if they are in their mid to late twenties as they want to be playing all the time.
Guthrie probably knows that his performances have done enough to secure him both first team football and decent money at another Premier League club and could well want to move on come the summer rather than go back to being a bench warmer.
As a Newcastle supporter, if it is the case it is disappointing, but being purely objective, it would be understandable and you can’t blame the lad.
If it is to be last orders for Danny, I think he is one who has stepped up to the plate when needed this season and deserves a warm welcome in future rather than the standard boo treatment received by players who leave for pastures new.
Hopefully Romain Amalfitano is another Graham Carr special and the bitterness of losing a good player will be short lived.
With Mehdi Abeid, Haris Vuckic and Dan Gosling all being prepared for ready made back-up for our midfield generals next season, Amalfitano could be the next highly promising youngster to join the Newcastle ranks and help take us to the next level.
In Graham Carr we trust.
Would be interested in what other people think. Does this spell the end for Guthrie or can fans see him being here next season?