With Wigan’s Charles N’Zgobia looking likely to sign for Aston Villa in the coming days, that’s one ex-Newcastle player that won’t be making a return to St James’ Park wearing the famous black and white stripes anytime soon. However, there are still a few Newcastle old boys doing the rounds who might be interested in returning to the north east. Two of those who are reported to have been offered to the Magpies are Tottenham’s Sebastien Bassong and Aston Villa’s Habib Beye. However, it is thought that Newcastle have turned down making a move for either this summer, but is that the right decision?
In some ways you could describe Bassong’s time at Newcastle as short and sweet. He was only at St James’ Park for one season (2008-2009), and although Newcastle were relegated to the Championship, he was undoubtedly one of the few shining lights for the Magpies. Signed for just £0.5 million and sold for £8 million 12 months later, the Frenchman was a great bit of business for Newcastle, and I don’t think many fans begrudged his exit.
Aged 25, Bassong is coming into his peak, but isn’t getting much game time at Spurs. Even with Jonathan Woodgate, who has now moved onto Stoke, and Ledley King out for large periods of the season through injury, Bassong still finds himself behind captain Michael Dawson and experienced William Gallas in the pecking order. Thus Bassong might be tempted to move in order to find more first team football, and at around £5 million he would represent a decent buy.
Another man sitting on the bench a lot recently is Habib Beye. To say Beye has been out of favour at Aston Villa would be something of an understatement. His two years at Villa Park really have been a nightmare and the Senagalese international hasn’t even been able to muster together ten Premier League appearances. The 33 year old is looking for a way out, any way out, to resurrect his career.
Beye was something of a cult hero at Newcastle. Subject of the website ‘Beyewatch’ and the chant ‘Monday, Tuesday, Habib Beye, Wednesday, Thursday, Habib Beye’, etc, etc, Newcastle fans really took Habib Beye to their hearts. His exit in 2009 irked the St James’ Park faithful as Beye had previously stated his fondness for the club and his intention to stay. He now must be wishing he had, and for Newcastle and Beye it’s a case of what might have been.
While Newcastle might have more pressing transfer targets, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be strengthening across all positions. Beye might be too old at 33 and wouldn’t be any better than the ever improving Danny Simpson, but Bassong would be a decent acquisition. The Cameroon international would provide strong competition in the heart of the defence and could even step in at left back if needed. That’s one half of this ex-Newcastle duo I’d seriously consider bringing back to St James’ Park.
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