Our summer re-building will quickly start to take shape and and a key decision any manager has is always the future of any out of contract players. Newcastle have 5/6 but the main two are the futures of Gouffran and Anita. Both have been with the club a number of years and have racked up the appearances during their stay. How successful have they been and is their time up?
High expectations were placed on Anita when he first signed shortly after we finished 5th under Alan Pardew. He was signed in the hope of being the final piece of our midfield jigsaw and a player who could dictate the tempo of a game with his passing and a fine partner for Cabaye and Tiote.
It hasn’t quite turned out like that in reality. Since signing Newcastle have struggled, either flirting with relegation or plying their trade in the Championship. That doesn’t mask some pretty ineffective displays in the middle of the park. He has a great attitude and a good attitude but gets lost with the physicality of midfield in England, often bullied by taller and stronger players.
However, just as his future was bleak, his versatility has given him more opportunites in the last few seasons, now mainly used as a right back. He certainly looks more comfortable there despite openly admitting he isn’t keen on playing full back longer term. His good stamina and neat passing make him a solid option and he often kept Yedlin our the side this year.
He is one of the higher earners though and you have to feel he hasn’t really lived up to what we wanted from his signing initially. A fresh start is perhaps best for all parties.
Unlike Anita, Gouffran was not as well known and signed for Newcastle under the radar as we signed the likes of Moussa Sissoko in the same window. A cut price fee of around £1.5m also meant it was a low risk transfer for Newcastle.
Interestingly, like Anita, Gouffran has enjoyed relative success in a different position for which he was signed. He was regarded as a good striker from Bordeaux when signed but has spent the vast majority of his time here playing left midfield. He has scored some key goals for us and again his attitude cannot be questioned. His excellent strike at Derby this season personified his strengths when on form.
I would argue his time on Tyneside has been a success when you consider his small fee. He is though now 31 and again like Anita, feel that Rafa will want fresh faces this summer. After all if Rafa was really keen to keep them they would have been offered new contracts by now.
If they both do leave it will free up valuable space on the wage bill but both can leave the club with their heads held high.
What do you think?