A successful summer for the Magpies would be getting to 12.01am on 1st September with the bulk of their prized Ba, Cisse, Tiote, Cabaye and Ben Arfa collection intact. Adding a couple more bargain basement buys to the mix wouldn’t hurt either and Newcastle have spent the summer trying to recreate last year’s successful policy of getting Alan Carr’s dad to scout some of the best and most affordable talent in Europe. If it turns out they’re only buying replacements for players snapped up by the vultures with large cheque-books, then building on last season will be difficult.
Something to be positive about
It’s hard to say until the ‘will they-won’t they-just do something will ya!?’ situation surrounding their key players gets resolved. Whatever the outcome of the various transfer sagas, Alan Pardew will still be in charge and he’s normally good for a couple of seasons’ worth of progress before things start to go downhill.
Something to be a bit worried about
‘Those damns clubs, thinking they can come along with their money and take our best players’. Even though that’s what Newcastle did to teams who happened to be below them on the food chain, the Toon Army will feel a little aggrieved if they have their prize jewels plucked from their grasp without having time to bring un reinforcements. Then again, a big team came in at the last minute to get Andy Carroll without leaving time for Newcastle to find a suitable replacement and we know who did better out of that deal.
An optimistic season bet
It’ll be tough, but a Top 4 Finish (most likely 4th) and the agony of hoping a Premier League team doesn’t win the Champions League is the obvious destination for the Alan Pardew project. It’s a 12/1 shot, but Liverpool to do the same is 21/10. That seems about as wrong as saying you watch Geordie Shore for the intellectual debate.
A more realistic season bet
A more achievable bet would be Newcastle to Finish in the Top 6 at 16/5. The prize of Europa League football is about as appealing as an invitation to learn about Scientology, but it’s European football and that’s better than nothing. Some people think.
Romain Amalfitano (Reims, free)
Gael Bigirimana (Coventry, undisclosed)
Packing their bags
Philip Airey (released)
Ryan Donaldson (released)
Danny Guthrie (released)
Tamas Kadar (released)
Peter Lovenkrands (released)
Alan Smith (released)
Leon Best (Blackburn, £3m)
Fraser Forster (Celtic, £2m)