With the month of July now upon us, Newcastle have confirmed the signings of French duo Sylvain Marveaux and Mehdi Abeid. Both players, like Demba Ba before them, have arrived at the club on free transfers and join Yohan Cabaye amongst the new French contingent. Though all these signings have been hailed as positive moves for the club, many fans are growing increasingly impatient with Mike Ashley’s cautious transfer policy and are desperate to see more players come in.
One player that has been regularly linked to Newcastle is Chelsea’s young striker, Daniel Sturridge. Having enjoyed a successful spell at Bolton for the second half of last season, many see him as the ideal replacement for Andy Carroll and maybe even the famous No. 9 shirt. Chelsea are however playing hard-to-get and have placed a staggering £20 million price tag on his head. A £6 million bid has been lodged by Stoke City, but this is likely to be rebuffed and followed by a bidding war amongst interested parties. Considering Newcastle’s close-fisted approach to transfer dealings, an offer for Sturridge looks unlikely.
There is however another English striker on the market who also enjoyed a successful season last year with an eye-catching 13 league goals. Though turning 30 in November, DJ Campbell has proven to be a tenacious player with an eye for goal, making him joint 5th top goalscorer in the league, on par with Andy Carroll and Chicharito. Not bad company to find yourself in after your first full EPL season. QPR have put an offer on the table and the player is also linked with a move to Martin Jol’s Fulham. Apparently available for as little as £1.25 million, he certainly fits the bill price wise, but whether the Newcastle hierarchy wish to take on a player of his age is another matter and may prove to be a stumbling block.
When discussing our policy with regard to potential incoming strikers, it is worth considering two points. Firstly, Alan Pardew recently commented that he expects Demba Ba to score 15 to 25 goals next term. Secondly there is the likelihood that Newcastle will line up in a 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-1-1 formation with Hatem Ben Arfa occupying a central attacking midfield role in support of a lone striker.
Both of these facts seem to suggest that Ba will be the first choice lone striker with any other signings acting as backup or to be brought on when chasing a game. I cannot imagine Sturridge favouring such a role and neither can I see Newcastle paying over £10 million for an impact sub. At the age of 30, one final chance to play for a club the size of Newcastle may be tempting enough for DJ to consider playing second fiddle to Ba. For £1.25 million Campbell might prove himself to be a very astute signing by the club.