Sunday saw Newcastle continue their impressive return from lockdown with a battling point against a West Ham side fighting for Premier League survival. The return of football to our television sets, and the surprisingly good form of United, has given Newcastle fans a desperately welcomed break from the monotony of Tyneside takeover tedium.
The highlight has undoubtedly been the form of one Allan Saint-Maximin. The mercurial French winger has been at his scintillating best after keeping himself in great condition throughout lockdown.
One can’t help but think though that perhaps the dazzling dribbler should have been rested for this one.
Right from the get-go he didn’t quite look one hundred percent and the gruelling post-pandemic break schedule has taken its toll on Newcastle’s star man.
In the end it seems the temptation to play ASM was too tantalising for Bruce to refrain from given the forward’s breath-taking form. How do you drop a player after witnessing him making 3 assists against Bournemouth?
Saint-Maximin represents the most exciting talent to grace St James’s Park since Ben Arfa and fans want to see him play every game, of course we do, he is incredible to watch. But Bruce must look at the big picture here with Man City coming up in just a few days.
Valentino Lazaro has been chomping at the bit to get a run in the side and would have deputised for ASM admirably given the opportunity which many will feel he deserved following a tremendous performance from the bench against Bournemouth.
Lazaro has already aired his frustrations at lack of game time and fans must fear his loan deal may end without a permanent switch being agreed. More importantly Saint-Maximin needs protecting, these are testing times and the foreboding fears of lengths on the treatment table lurk in the fog on the Tyne.
On the issue of Newcastle’s loan triad, fans seem impressed with the additions with possibly the exception of Danny Rose who has done reasonably well without quite living up to the standards set by the excellent Willems.
Bentaleb is a good player and pushes Hayden and Shelvey hard for starting positions in Newcastle’s engine room. He is tidy on the ball, strong in the tackle and provides nice balance being a left-footer.
He’s hungry too having been left out in the cold in Germany and we haven’t seen anything of this questionable temperament we heard about when he signed.
Lazaro is a player of quality, we saw that as he managed to provide as much of a goal threat in 15 minutes against Bournemouth than Joelinton has managed all season.
There must be some sympathy for big Jo however, as he was lauded as the new number nine when this simply isn’t his position. He’s done very well in some games holding the ball up and bringing others in to play. But seeing as how he is supposed to be more comfortable out wide, he hasn’t really shown any glimpse of scoring when Lazaro finished beautifully and then smashed one against the bar on the south coast.
What about Rose? Would any other left back smell so sweet? Bit of Shakespeare for you there if you were wondering what that was about. The point here is, in terms of available left backs, Rose might be the best on the table.
Takeover. Well the Premier League seem determined to be the organisation to hold the record for the longest, most ridiculous, unfathomable, and infuriating period to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in the history of mankind.
Admittedly it is impossible to understand the complexities of such a deal, but for the love of St James can you please hurry up and tell us we are the most wealthy club in the world?
In all seriousness though, the current situation leaves Newcastle in a state of limbo. Can deals for Rose, Bentaleb and Lazaro be done? Never mind any other players. And if the takeover does go ahead, the claims of players like Coutinho and Bale coming are just nonsense. It seems like many journalists
have forgotten about Financial Fair Play rules which would forbid Newcastle from making any such high-profile signings.
So if the takeover does happen, and we all hope it does, never mind the moral complaints of green-eyed onlookers who seem intent on condemning Newcastle’s potential deal whilst conveniently ignoring the blood money pumped into their own clubs, don’t expect Mbappe to be wearing a black and white shirt next season.
The pandemic has changed everything, and that includes football, and transfers. How else can one explain David Luis getting a new contract at Arsenal?!
And finally, from me ‘Shearer’s Right Foot’, it’s been a long time, but it is a pleasure to write for you. HTL.
The future’s bright; the future’s black and white.