Following on from the previous article featuring Derek Llambias’ exclusive interview with the Daily Mirror, here is the second part.
If you haven’t already read the first part you can do so by clicking here but essentially it is Llambias talking in depth about the naming rights.
It actually went on or longer than I thought it would so I decide to split it into two. This being the second part. From losing players, signing players, Alan Pardew and the possibility of Mike Ashley selling up, Llambias speaks quite openly about the lot. Read on to see what he says.
On losing players in the summer: “We’ll be losing one or two names this summer, but that’ll be regenerated back into the squad. Alan’s plan is to get a smaller squad, with better quality – so the bench is better. That’s our aim over the next two years. We can’t do it all this summer – we’re not sure what the market will be like this summer when we’re trading.”
“We will lose some faces. For instance, Tiote has been with us a year and a half. He is out there. People know he’s a good player. He’s proven in the Premier League, he’s not picking up as many yellow cards, he’s learning. How are we going to stop a big club from coming in for him? It’ll be very hard. One thing in our favour is that we now have a very good side and that might encourage the player to stay. But if someone knocks on the door and says they want this or that money, the reality may be that we have to trade.”
I know people won’t like reading that but essentially it is the truth. If a club comes in with silly money we will sell, but the recent accounts have shown that by selling one key player for large money we can bring in four or five as a result. It’s not ideal, but it’s also how Tottenham got themselves in to a position to resist bids for Luka Modric as the success they’ve earned was built on by selling players like Dimitar Berbatov, Michael Carrick and Robbie Keane for huge fees.
Then there is the chance that a player might want to go anyway, but equally as Llambias said, there is now a chance that a player can see something here and might decide he doesn’t want to ply his trade anywhere else at the moment. Cheik Tiote actually seems to be one of those types and said only yesterday that he is already at a big club so why would he move. The reality is that his attitude may change if another club decides they want to pay him double his wages or something like that. Besides, could Llambias not be referring to the likes of Peter Lovenkrands and Alan Smith who are out of contract in the summer?
On signing Papiss Cisse: “We spend a long, long time identifying our targets and he was our number one choice. But at first we couldn’t afford the price or the salary so we moved on to the next one, which was Maiga. January came and nobody knew Cisse was happening, which is how we like it – those are our most successful deals, without the interference, in terms of upping the price or someone coming in at the last minute.”
On summer signings: “We have targets for the summer, and we’re not in a position of having to beg. People are saying, ‘Ah Newcastle. Of course we want to talk to you’. We do a brilliant video presentation – very sharp, it is great – and it opens eyes to what the club, the fans and the city are all about.”
On selling Andy Carroll: “Sometimes you can’t hold a player back from moving. It’s in their best interests. Take, for example, Andy, and look what he’s getting at Liverpool, several times the wages he was on at Newcastle. The only person who said no to that deal was Mike. The reality is, it’s a risk, it’s January, can we replace him? We couldn’t. It was a risk.”
On new deals for Tim Krul and Fabricio Coloccini: “We’ve made a big commitment to Colo and Tim. People asked why we hadn’t done the deal, but it took a long time – it didn’t happen overnight. Coloccini’s took a year. We never want to find ourselves in a position where we lose somebody like we did Jose Enrique. We didn’t want to lose somebody of his value, or the team building that Coloccini gives you as captain. Colo doesn’t fit our profile in that we wouldn’t bring a 29-year-old in, but he’s here and he’s proven. He’s an all-round top pro and will finish his pro career here at 34. He’s like a Giggs or a Scholes – a solid player and you can build around him. Krul is up and coming and can be anything. We’ve got him on a five and a half year deal and we’re very happy.”
On his sledgehammer negotiating stance: “If we did it for one person’s wages, we’d have to do it for the next and then we’d get a reputation. At the moment, players and agents know that our first offer is very close to the final offer. Once it’s off the table, it’s off the table and it only goes down. It’s never up, it’s always lower. There are more football players than there are clubs. The manager has his targets and we just move on.”
Speaking of the manager, on Alan Pardew: “Alan was the right combination of what we’re looking for and understands where we’re going. He’s a good guy, good with the media, good with the players. Tactically he’s very good – he doesn’t get it right all of the time, but nobody does. And we know how he’s going to play before a game and we like that with Alan. He’s got a passion and he’s settled down in the North-East really well and loves it.”
On interacting with the fans: “We do engage with fans. We met a guy who drives from Bournemouth for every home match, so we invited him to be our guest and for them to ask anything they wanted. We’ve done it for other fans we’ve met in restaurants. Sometimes they’re still critical, but we just say, ‘Come on, just ask us’. At the end of the day, when they’ve met us, it gets them thinking.”
And finally, on Mike Ashley and the possibility of him selling the club: “We’re not doing this to sell up. The reality is that if someone comes up with a chunk of money, I’d have to put it to Mike and he would have to consider it. Would we sell it to someone who couldn’t afford it? No. Would we sell it cheap? No, why would we? We’ve put the money in, done the work and now we may see the upside of what we’re trying to grow.”
Once again I can’t really argue with what he says and it’s nice to hear that there is a plan for the summer already. Cue an immense amount of speculation…
What do you make of it all though?