The January transfer window was a story of both positives and negatives for Newcastle United fans across the region. We asked sportscaster Rob Pears, host of The Sports Zone, to answer that question, and review the events of the past month.
So, another January transfer window has come and gone. We’ll leave aside for now the fact that the window is totally unnecessary and shouldn’t exist, and instead look at how it panned out for the Magpies.
Alan Pardew, who last night took charge of his 52nd game as Toon boss, a 2-1 win over Aston Villa to take Newcastle up to 5th in the league, will surely be looking back at the first month of the year as a positive one.
There was the unexpected arrival of Senegal striker Papiss Demba Cisse, an acquisition from Freiburg for a fee thought to be in the region of around £9 million. It was unexpected purely because Pardew had previously stated that he wouldn’t be looking for a striker.
Cisse will most likely play alongside his international team-mate Demba Ba, who is course is already having a prolific season, having notched over fifteen goals to date. Cisse has been given the famous number 9 shirt, and promises great things, having scored 37 league goals in just 65 Bundesliga appearances for the German side.
Pardew however failed in his efforts to sign a defender, although it wasn’t for a lack of trying. His preferred target was reported to be Watford’s Adrian Mariappa, which is believed to have stalled as Newcastle would not match the Championship side’s valuation of the player.
Wigan were able to match Watford’s valuation, but Mariappa understandably didn’t want to move to a side who are destined for the drop! Whether or not the lack of a defensive signing proves to be a miscalculation remains to be seen during Newcastle’s remaining 14 games.
The lack of a defensive signing is a gamble, but bringing in Cisse is certainly better than plucking Shefki Kuqi from the middle of nowhere at the last minute, as happened twelve months ago. I believe he’s now at mid-table League One side Oldham Athletic!
Newcastle have perhaps more significantly been able to hold on to their five prize assets, with goalkeeper Tim Krul, who has nine clean sheets this season, and club captain Fabricio Coloccini remaining at the club, as well as Cheick Tiote, Yohan Cabaye, and Demba Ba. Pardew will surely see this as an achievement.
So, while the mainstream media concern themselves with the battle between the two Manchester clubs and Spurs at the top of the title, Newcastle have been able to quietly go about their business, and this season could yet prove to be rather fruitful indeed.
You can catch The Sports Zone on NE1fm every Saturday from 2 til 5PM, with coverage of all of the day’s sporting events, including live updates from all on-going Premier League games. Rob is also on Twitter at @ne1sportszone.
Pictured top: Papiss Demba Cisse. Credit to the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety campaign for the photo.