When pondering summer signings, supporters can quite often get caught up in the speculation, led by heart rather then head, hoping their club will push the boat out just that once to take the squad to a whole new level.
It always reminds me of the ‘Dreams vs Reality’ scene in Father Ted where Dougal allows the rabbits bouncing about his head to come to the fore. It’s something everyone allows to happen at some stage, myself more than many.
This summer, my dream has been this. The signings of Wilfired Bony and Pierre-Emerick Aubamyang, with the intent of switching to a proper 433 attacking formation, bringing back the bums on edge of seats football we all want so much.
Although Papiss Cisse is a very good goalscorer, when on form, his all round game leaves a lot to be desired. He’s not strong in the air, the ball doesn’t stick to him enough to allow support, his pass execution can be poor, and he’s forever making straight line runs and getting caught offside.
I think in games where we dominate and are creating numerous goalscoring chances, then Cisse can be lethal, but that scenario doesn’t present itself too often. Even in the season before last where we finished fifth, we didn’t dominate teams, we were simply clinical in our finishing.
I think for the future, Bony would be the ideal focal point in a 433 formation. He has the all round game that Cisse lacks. His stature and leap gives him real physical and aerial presence. He can hold a ball up very well, is comfortable on both feet, a better link player, and a cool finisher.
Don’t get me wrong, he’s no world beater, but would be a very good centre forward option, complimented by two pacey wing forwards who have pace to burn and will chip in with goals and assists. This is where Aubameyang comes in.
Again, despite the hype, he is no world beater. He can be very frustrating at times, erratic with the final ball and a small bit selfish, sound familiar? Anyway, what he does give is a constant pain in the rear for any defence, ever-willing to take a run at them and test with his blistering pace.
On top of this, he is also quite good in the air and extremely versatile, able to play either side or as a centre forward if needs be to switch to two up top or if injuries arise, be a strong option for the lone striker role. Even from a wide position, I would say he could hit double figures in goals.
My first choice for the other wing forward position would obviously be the enigmatic Hatem Ben Arfa. Like Aubameyang, can be very frustrating, but if given free license to attack and interchange with other forwards, could cause havoc a lot more than he already does.
Many will cite his injuries and hard to argue given last season, but with those two signings, we’d have some serious options. Aubameyang, Bony, Ben Arfa ; Gouffran, Cisse, Marveaux. Injuries or reliance on one or two to get the goals would no longer be an issue.
Anyway, before I let the rabbits completely take over and need an alcoholic priest to launch a whiskey bottle at my head, I’ll drag it back to somewhat reality. I am fully aware Bony and Aubameyang would cost upwards of £25 million to bring in and most likely will end up at bigger clubs.
The reality is probably this. While we’ll be linked with these type of players, we won’t bring in multiple signings costing those sort of fees. We could conceivably sign two forwards, or one centre forward one wing forward, if Shola Ameobi is finally moved on. Whoops, dreaming again.
If, and that’s a big if, we did in fact sign two forwards, chances are it could be the likes of Darren Bent and Loic Remy. Both cheaper options of similar mould to Bony and Aubameyang. One being frozen out at Aston Villa, desperate to move, the other being relegated and an alleged rapist, not confirmed.
Both could actually be very decent signings, but going off the awful summer we’ve had so far, even if we did sign Bent and Remy, knowing our luck the former will show a big reason he was frozen out at Villa, for not being the player he once was, and the latter will be convicted. Regardless of whether they come to Newcastle or not, I hope neither turns out to be the case, I actually like both as players, but it is a possibility.
This has taken a decidedly negative turn so I’m back off to Imagination Land for the time being. It’s much more fun than the apparent reality of Kinnear trying to seal deals and sit down with Ben Arfa for talks on a new contract. Christ! I think that scares me more than any talks for a signing.
One can only hope we get some reward for a season and summer of torment, even if that something is John Carver launching a whiskey bottle at Pardews head and telling him to play some entertaining football for a change. Am I dreaming again?